Qatar pulls out of Arab League race
Cairo, May 15, 2011
Qatar has withdrawn its candidate to head the Arab League, Al Arabiya television reported on Sunday, leaving Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby, as the sole candidate to head the Cairo-based organisation.
The next secretary-general will take over from Amr Moussa, who led the League for 10 years.
According to reports, Al-Arabi was all set to become the new head of the Arab League after Qatar withdrew its own candidate, Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, a former Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary general.
Just moments before voting for the head of the 22-member body was due to start, Egypt withdrew the candidacy of Mustafa al-Fikki and nominated Arabi instead, said a report citing an Arab diplomat.
Fikki, a diplomat under the regime of Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak, had faced strong opposition both on the Egyptian street and from within the 22-member Arab League, sources said.
Arab foreign ministers had gathered in Cairo earlier on Sunday to begin discussions on who would succeed Amr Mussa as the new secretary general of the pan-Arab organisation, as political upheavals sweep the region.