Mar 30 2009

Saudi's King Abdullah walks out of opening session of Arab Summit

30 March 2009
Doha: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz walked out of the opening session of the Arab Summit in Doha on Monday, following remarks made by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Tempers flared shortly after the summit host Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, ended his opening address, in which he said King Abdullah will represent the Arab nation at Thursday’s G20 economic summit in London.

"He is in fact the best representative any one could have,” said Shaikh Hamad. The Arabs should be part of the restructuring of the global financial system, he said. “We should not sit on the sidelines watching.”

Following the speech, the Libyan leader took over the microphone without requesting a permission to speak, a Gulf News correspondent inside the meeting hall said.

"I don’t know why we should be happy that King Abdullah is representing us at the G20. He is a British-made monarch and an American agent," Gaddafi said, and went on despite the repeated attempts by Shaikh Hamad to stop him.

Frustrated over the attempts by the Emir of Qatar to stop his from talking, Gaddafi looked at the rest of the Arab leaders and said: "I am the King of African Kings, I am the prince of the faithful and I don’t think my international prestige would allow me to sit with people like you."

The remark and the subsequent apology by the Emir of Qatar led to an angry walkout by King Abdullah, who few years earlier had a similar spat with Gaddafi.

Sources told Gulf News the Emir of Qatar then sent his Prime Minister Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Bin Jabr Al Thani to appeal to the King to return to the meeting hall.

Following a short meeting at his suite, the King was seen coming back to his seat in time to hear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing the conference.

Seventeen heads of state from the 22-member Arab League and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki were present for the opening addresses by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Emir of Qatar.

The arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, who is attending the summit, the Palestinian unity talks and Arab reconciliation top the agenda of the two-day meeting.

By Staff Reporter

© Gulf News 2009

© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

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