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    Lebanon boycotts Arab League summit in Syria

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    Lebanon will not attend an all-Arab summit in Damascus on March 20-30 in protest against Syria's alleged meddling in its internal affairs.

    BEIRUT, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Lebanon will not attend an all-Arab summit in Damascus on March 20-30 in protest against Syria's alleged meddling in its internal affairs.

    The decision was adopted late on Tuesday by Lebanon's Cabinet.

    "We believe that Damascus is not the most appropriate place for discussing the Lebanese problem, because we regard Syria as a major obstacle in the search for a compromise in the current internal political crisis," Lebanese Youth and Sports Minister Ahmed Fatfat told the Al Arabiya news channel.

    Lebanon has witnessed a protracted political crisis as its parliament has been unable to elect a president since November 23 over disputes between the ruling majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition, allegedly supported by Syria.

    On Monday, Lebanon put off for the 17th time the country's presidential polls, rescheduling the planned March 25 elections for April 22.

    Beirut's decision was widely expected after Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan announced they would not be represented at the summit of a 22-nation Arab League by their respective leaders. The meeting is normally attended by the heads of state of the participating Arab countries.

    Saudi Arabia and Egypt support the pro-Western Lebanese government led by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and also accuse Syria, which had a significant influence in Lebanese affairs for decades before it was forced to withdraw its troops from the country in 2005, of standing in the way of the election of a new president.

    However, Syria and its allies in Lebanon blame the current political turmoil on Washington's alleged attempts to split the Arab world in order to achieve its political goals in the Middle East.

    Lebanon's boycott of the upcoming all-Arab summit makes it unlikely that the Arab League will now be able to play a major role in mediating the political crisis in the country.

    The Arab League had earlier proposed holding presidential elections in Lebanon as soon as possible, the formation of a national unity government and new legislation regulating elections and government appointments.

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