Arab League summit postponed until next year

The annual Arab summit that was to have been held in Baghdad this month has been postponed until next year at Iraq's request, the Arab League announced on Thursday.

Iraq has retained the right to host the summit in March 2012, the statement added.

The decision followed talks earlier Thursday between Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The summit was first scheduled for March in Iraq but was subsequently delayed for May as turmoil gripped the Arab world and concerns persisted about Baghdad as a venue.

"We regret this decision," said Abdul-Hadi al-Hassani, a lawmaker from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's parliamentary bloc. "We were fully prepared to host the summit, but we respect the views of some countries that see that the turmoil in the region does not allow for a successful summit now."