CAIRO (Reuters) – A vote to choose the Arab League’s new secretary-general was delayed on Thursday after Qatar objected to the nomination of Egypt’s former foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, a diplomatic source said.
Aboul Gheit served as Egypt’s foreign minister during the final seven years of former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule, leaving his post in 2011 following the mass protests that toppled the ageing autocrat.
The Arab League was due to vote to replace Egyptian diplomat Nabil El-Araby, who headed the 22-member organisation after serving as Egypt’s foreign minister under a transitional government formed after the 2011 uprising.
Qatar welcomed Mubarak’s fall and supported President Mohamed Mursi, who was elected in 2012 and overthrown a year later by the army after protests against his rule.
El-Araby said last month that he would not seek another term as secretary-general after his current one ends in July.
The difficulty in agreeing a successor to El-Araby follows Morocco’s announcement last month that it would not host the 2016 Arab League meeting as scheduled, saying it wanted to avoid giving a false impression of unity in the Arab world.
The Arab League has recently been a forum for predominantly Sunni Muslim countries led by Saudi Arabia to air grievances with regional Shi’ite power Iran.
The two regional powers are backing different sides in Syria’s civil war and different factions in neighbouring Lebanon.
(Reporting by Amina Ismail; Editing by Dominic Evans) (source)
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