Syria's press on Thursday hailed the imminent summit of Arab leaders a success due to the absence of US influence, as heads of state from several US-friendly regional heavyweights boycott the event.
“It is enough for the Arab summit in Damascus that the American ghost is banished... it is enough that for the first time all its decisions and agreements will be free of the American virus,” the state-owned daily Al-Thawra wrote in an editorial.
The ruling party mouthpiece Al-Baath wrote, “The Damascus summit has succeeded in overcoming all sorts of pressures, starting from the statements of US officials and their desire to not hold the summit or their desire for non participation.”
“The US administration has failed in its influence or its threats... Syria has managed a new opening in the wall that the US administration has tried to build in the face of any joint Arab work,” it continued.
Syria hosts its first Arab Summit this weekend facing a boycott by a number of heads of state over Damascus’ alleged role in the political crisis gripping neighboring Lebanon.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia will send only low-level delegations to the meeting in Damascus on Saturday and Sunday, while diplomatic sources said Jordan and Morocco would also be represented by lower-level officials. Lebanon has boycotted the event.
The United States, which backs Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, last week called for Arab countries to reflect before deciding to participate in the summit and also accused Damascus of paralyzing Lebanese politics.
The Lebanese crisis, the worst since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war, is widely seen as an extension of the conflict pitting the United States and its regional allies against Syria and Iran.