Arab summit begins in Damascus with Lebanon, nine others absent (video)
(dpa) - A two-day Syrian-hosted Arab summit started Saturday in Damascus amid a Lebanese boycott and the absence of nine Arab leaders.
Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the kings of Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia decided not to participate in the summit.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem had earlier told a news conference that the Arab leaders had not come under pressure from the United States.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received the participants at the conference, including 10 Arab leaders and the representatives of 10 Arab countries.
Lebanon has completely boycotted the summit.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also attending the summit, but is scheduled to leave Saturday evening to hold talks in Amman with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The summit plans to issue its final statement on Sunday.