By Wassim Saif al-Din
An economic development summit kicked off in Lebanese capital Beirut on Sunday.
Addressing the summit, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said his country was taking the full brunt of the displacement of thousands of Syrians due to the conflict in their country.
“The number of Syrian and Palestinian refugees now equals half of the Lebanese population,” he said.
Aoun said the goal of the Beirut economic summit was not to delve into the reasons of Arab conflicts. “We are here to discuss the destructive consequences of the wars on the economy and development in our countries,” he said.
Organized by the Arab League, the summit is attended by only three Arab leaders; the Lebanese president, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
Most Arab states are represented at the summit by delegations at the ambassadorial level. Syria, whose Arab League membership has been suspended since 2011, and Libya are not taking part in the meeting.
The last Arab economic summit was held in Saudi capital Riyadh in 2013.