Assad not attending Arab Economic Summit

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria will not attend the Arab Economic Summit, Arab diplomats said on Friday.

Instead Syria will be represented at Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh resort on 19 January by its Arab League ambassador, Mohamed Naji Ottri, according to diplomatic sources.

The sources also told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, will be absent from the meeting of Arab foreign ministers which will make preparations for the summit. He will be replaced by his deputy, Faisal Meqdad.

The Syrian delegation did not give reasons for the absence, but diplomats attributed it to the failure to achieve an Egyptian-Syrian reconciliation. Other diplomats cited the recent political crisis in Lebanon as another factor.

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