(dpa) - Syria will not invite foreign leaders to the upcoming Arab summit in Damascus to cut down on time-consuming speeches and allow more time for inter-Arab discussions, local newspapers reported Wednesday.
Explaining the decision, an unnamed Syrian official told al-Watan newspaper that much of the first day in any Arab summit is normally consumed by long opening sessions dedicated to speeches by foreign and Arab leaders.
Syria, said the official, wants to allow more time on the first day of the summit for Arab leaders to discuss issues on the agenda.
The decision will mean that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not attend the summit.
Arab countries have followed a tradition of inviting leaders of regional and Islamic countries to their annual meetings.