Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
“14 Arab leaders heading to Damascus, Abdullah & Mubarak to boycott it” (mideastwire.com)
Al-Akhbar, an independent pro-opposition newspaper, wrote on March 25: “The Saudi announcement about decreasing the level of Saudi representation in the Arab summit to the level of ambassador caused negative repercussions among the Syrian leadership and other Arab leaderships. Knowledgeable Syrian sources informed Al-Akhbar that more than 14 Arab leaders will participate in the summit and that Egypt has yet to announce its final attitude despite leaks about the intentions of the Egyptian president Husni Mubarak to follow Saudi Arabia’s lead by boycotting the summit and tasking a high ranking Egyptian official to represent him in it. According to the same sources, Damascus was informed that the leaders of Kuwait, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Sudan, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Somalia, Palestine, Mauritania, Djibouti, and the Islands of the Moon will attend.
“The sources added that the Bahraini king will issue his decision today or tomorrow and pointed out that the Bahraini king had already held communications with the Syrian leadership in which he announced that he endorses the summit. The sources pointed out that the Sultan of Oman is accustomed to boycotting the summit along with the Moroccan king who will send his crown prince and a large delegation. It seems that the special protocol issues concerning the opening session have been solved as there are precedents that allow the president of the host nation to receive the presidency of the summit automatically and to head the sessions of the summit in case the previous head of the summit was absent. Thus the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will not receive the presidency of the summit from the Saudi delegate, who might not get a chance to speak in the opening session.
“The sources added that the guests of the summit who are present at the level of foreign ministers were informed that they will not be allowed to recite speeches in the opening session where only the secretary general of the Arab League Amr Moussa and President Al-Assad are expected to speak. It has not been settled yet whether other leaders will recite speeches in the opening session. While Lebanon’s seat in the meetings of the Arab delegates to the Arab League being held in Damascus to discuss the economic and political issues to be discussed in the summit remained vacant, official Lebanese sources announced that the decision of the Lebanese government headed by Prime Minister Fu’ad Al-Sanyurah to participate or boycott the summit will be taken within the next 24 hours. The sources postulated that Lebanon will more likely boycott the summit.
“Arab diplomatic sources announced that Al-Sanyurah held a series of talks with Riyadh in which he was informed of the Saudi decision to decrease the level of Saudi representation in the summit. The sources discounted the possibility that the “ruling team in Lebanon might dare take a decision contrary to the Saudi decision despite the fact that several Arab factions advised Al-Sanyurah to send a representative”… Damascus seemed unconcerned about the absence of the Saudi king. A high-ranking Syrian official announced to Al-Akhbar that King Abdullah’s absence “was expected”. He refused to link Saudi Arabia’s attitude to the complications in the Lebanese crisis. He pointed to the necessity “of sitting together to solve the problems” and added that “Syria can’t appoint a president for Lebanon”. He stressed that the Lebanese crisis “is on the list of thorny issues in the region that might not be solved quickly”…” – Al-Akhbar Lebanon, Lebanon
Egypt, Saudi lower Arab summit representation as success unlikely
by Ibrahim Hamidi in al-Hayat
25 March 2008
BBC Monitoring Middle East
Excerpt from report by London-based newspaper Al-Hayat website on 25 March
[Report by Ibrahim Humaydi in Damascus and Muhammad Salah in Cairo: "Start of Preparations for Arab Summit in Damascus in Lebanon's Absence. Riyadh and Cairo Do Not See 'Conditions for Success'. Saudi Arabia To Be Represented by its Envoy to Arab League and Egypt and Jordan Expected to Attend at Ministerial Level"]
Ambassador Ahmad Abd-al-Aziz Qattan, the Saudi envoy to the Arab League [AL], announced yesterday he would be representing his country at the Arab summit which is scheduled to be held in Damascus on 29 and 30 March. Meanwhile, Egyptian sources in Cairo reported that Egypt and Saudi Arabia believe the conditions in which the summit is held "cannot guarantee its success" and "are surprised by the Syrians' insistence on seizing Lebanon by the neck and preventing the election of a Lebanese president and a solution for the crisis." [Passage omitted on Saudi cabinet statement on situation in Lebanon and other Arab countries]
Qattan delivered, in his capacity as his country's representative who will chair the summit before chairmanship is handed over to Syria, a written speech at the start of the Arab envoys' preparatory meeting for the summit and from which Lebanon's envoy Khalid Ziyadah was absent after asking the AL Secretariat General to postpone discussion of the Lebanese issue until the ministerial meeting on Thursday. It is believed that this meeting will determine the decision of Lebanon and other countries about the level of representation in the summit. The Saudi envoy considered "the continuing postponement" of the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies' sessions for electing General Michel Sulayman as the consensual president "unjustified" and urged all concerned parties "to avoid the dangerous vacuum and speed up" the election of Sulayman "while hoping for an active Syrian role to achieve national accord on the Arab initiative's basis."
Informed sources in Damascus told "Al-Hayat" that the envoys' agenda included 22 items, one of which dealt with the "Arab-Israeli conflict", and four points, among them "solidarity with Lebanon" without mentioning the Arab initiative for solving the crisis and pointed out that agreement was reached by the concerned parties to refer the hot dossiers to the meetings of the ministers and leaders. [Passage omitted on Qattan's statements after the meeting]
The sources expressed their belief that the Saudi representation at the AL envoy's level would affect the level of Egypt and Jordan's representation. They said Hazim Khayrat, the Egyptian envoy to the AL, would most probably lead the Egyptian delegation to the foreign ministers' meetings and Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt would lead the delegation to the summit. It was learned that an argument broke out yesterday between Khayrat and Yusuf al-Ahmad, the session chairman and Syria's envoy, because of the clear instructions to the Egyptian delegation that the Arab peace initiative "should not be harmed."
The sources stressed that between 12 and 14 leaders would attend the summit, among them Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih, Palestinian [National] Authority President Mahmud Abbas, United Arab Emirates President Shaykh Khalifah Bin-Zayid Al Nuhayyan, Qatari Amir Shaykh Hamad Bin-Khalifah Al Thani, Kuwaiti Amir Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah while Bahraini King Hamad Bin-Isa Al Khalifah has a date at the White House on Thursday. It was learned that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika would be the first to arrive in Damascus on Friday morning. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will lead the Iraqi delegation while Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi linked his participation to the issue of Imam Musa al-Sadr's disappearance. It was also learned that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would not attend the summit's opening session.
In Cairo, informed Egyptian sources asserted that President Husni Mubarak would not attend the summit and the delegation would be headed by the foreign minister. The sources disclosed that there was Egyptian-Saudi coordination about the participation issue and that the two countries concluded that the conditions in which the summit would be held "cannot guarantee its success" and "are surprised by the Syrians' insistence on seizing Lebanon by the neck and preventing the election of a Lebanese president and a solution for the crisis" in Lebanon.
The sources told "Al-Hayat" that King Abdallah and President Mubarak "are dissatisfied with Damascus's insistence on imposing its desire to hold the summit on time while at the same time impeding a solution of the Lebanese crisis." They pointed out that all the Syrian stands on this issue "were received with much surprise" (in Egypt and Saudi Arabia) which decided "to lower the level of representation at the summit since Lebanon will not be represented by a president of the republic because of the Syrian stand." The sources added that the two countries "concluded that the discussions inside the summit are not going to be effective, particularly as the Lebanese crisis remains exerting pressure on the Arab order and the crisis cannot be solved without a president for Lebanon."
The sources pointed to the tacit criticisms by officials in both countries of the close rapprochement between Syria and Iran even though the Arab agendas differ from the Iranian ones and concluded that Cairo and Riyadh decided that Damascus "has not taken constructive stands that ensure success for the first summit to be held in its territories." [Passage omitted on AL Secretary General Amr Musa's interview with Reuters]
Source: Al-Hayat website, London, in Arabic 25 Mar 08
Syria's Finance Minister supports continuing the public industries and argues that the public sector is compatible with the new social market economy. He has also delayed the opening of the bond and money market.
قال وزير المالية محمد الحسين إن "موضوع تصفية القطاع العام الصناعي أو خصخصته أمر غير وارد", مشيرا إلى أن هذا الأمر مضمون "بقرارات سياسية كان آخرها قرار المؤتمر القطري العاشر لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي المنعقد في حزيران من عام 2005 الذي أقر التمسك بالقطاع العام وخاصة الصناعي منه"
واعتبر الحسين في مقال له نشرته الصحف المحلية يتضمن توضيحه حول مشروع قانون إعادة تأهيل القطاع العام الصناعي, اعتبر أن "التوجه نحو اقتصاد السوق الاجتماعي وفق مفهومنا له لا يلغي أهمية القطاع العام ولا يعني تراجع دوره ولا دور الدولة في الحياة الاقتصادية مطلقا".
قال وزير المالية محمد الحسين الحكومة السورية قدمت سلفة مالية بقيمة 250 مليون ليرة سورية لتجهيز سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية وشراء برنامج التداول, نافيا دخول أي جهة خارجية كشريك في هذا السوق.
ونقلت صحيفة "الثورة" الرسمية عن الحسين أن "التوجه هو أن يكون سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية مشروع وطني 100% ".
وكانت هيئة الأوراق والأسواق المالية وقعت في تشرين أول الماضي مذكرة تفاهم مع سوق أبو ظبي المالي تتضمن شراكة إستراتيجية بين السوقين, وأن تقدم سوق أبو ظبي تكاليف برنامج التداول والبرمجيات الأخرى اللازمة لسوق دمشق إضافة إلى تدريب كوادر من سوق دمشق.
وقال رئيس هيئة الأوراق والأسواق المالية راتب الشلاح مؤخرا إن اتفاق الشراكة الإستراتيجية بين سوق أبوظبي المالي وسوق دمشق للأوراق المالية "لم يكتمل وتم تجاوزه بسبب تمويل الحكومة السورية للمشروع".
وفي السياق نفسه, فضل وزير المالية عدم إعطاء موعد محدد لانطلاق العمل في سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية "نظراً لعدم تحقق الوعود السابقة", معربا عن أمله بأن تكون انطلاقة السوق قريبة "لحاجة الاقتصاد السوري الكبيرة لها".
وتم تأجيل انطلاقة سوق دمشق للأوراق المالية عدة مرات رغم مرور نحو عامين على قرار إنشائها, ولم يتم تحديد موعد نهائي لهذه الانطلاقة بعد مرور الموعد الأخير والذي كان مطلع العام الحالي.
US Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday hit out at Iran and Syria as he wrapped up a Middle East peace push, saying the two countries were undermining the renewed but faltering Israeli-Palestinian talks. Iran and Syria "are doing everything they can to torpedo the peace process," Cheney told reporters in Occupied Jerusalem as he wrapped up a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories before heading to Turkey.
During his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, "I reaffirmed the president's commitment to help the process forward," Cheney said.
US President George W. Bush has said he hoped the two sides could strike a deal before he ends his term in January 2009.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who met twice with Cheney during his visit, "reaffirmed his commitment to the president's vision and his willigness to do everything he can to achieve a result in 2008 although he is well aware of the difficulties," Cheney