Arab summit extends Moussa's term as Arab League chief for 5 years

Arab leaders on Tuesday unanimously extended Amr Moussa's term as Arab League secretary-general for another five years, Yemen's president told reporters.

Moussa, whose term expires in May, will serve a second term, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said.

There had been questions earlier in the day of whether Moussa would be nominated after a leading Sudanese newspaper reported that Yemen planned to put forward a separate candidate.

Moussa, 69, first became secretary general in May 2001 after serving 10 years as Egypt's foreign minister.

In April 2003 he threatened to resign when Kuwaiti officials criticized him shortly before and after the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. He was accused of favoring Iraq and a Kuwaiti deputy prime minister referred to him as "merely a League employee."

The Arab League charter says the secretary general should be chosen by consensus. By tradition, however, the post has been held by an Egyptian diplomat since the League moved its headquarters back to Cairo in 1989.

Last year, Algeria pushed for the post to rotate among the 22-member nations, but the proposal was quietly dropped.

In his first years, Moussa was credited with injecting new dynamism into the post of secretary general and undertook several trips to Iraq before the invasion. He also managed to persuade Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi not to make good his threat to withdraw his country from the League.

But recently Moussa's attempts to reform the League have been stalled by financial constraints and the difficulties of reaching consensus among the member states.

The League was founded in 1945 as a forum for forging Arab positions on international affairs and promoting unity among Arabs, reports AP.


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