At least nine Arab leaders to Baghdad summit, says al-Maliki
Nine Arab heads of state have confirmed participation in next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Saturday, DPA reported.
"More presidents and kings continue to say they will come to Baghdad. I think until now nine have confirmed their attendance. We expect the number to increase," al-Maliki said on television.
The summit, the first to be held in Iraq in more than two decades, is to open amid tight security on Thursday. The gathering is expected to discuss the situation in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reconciliation in Yemen.
An al-Qaeda-linked group, Islamic State of Iraq, this week claimed responsibility for a series of bombings that claimed at least 56 lives across Iraq on Tuesday.
The group said the attacks were aimed at undermining the government's security plan for the Arab League summit.
"Preparations for the summit deserve appreciation and respect," al-Maliki said on Saturday. "All small and big details are taken into consideration."
The host nation has spent about 450 million dollars in preparation for the summit, including security and infrastructure, according to media reports.