Qatar nominates former Gulf council official for Arab League chief

Qatar has officially submitted a nomination for a new Arab League secretary general, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

It nominated Abdulrahman al-Attiyah, a former Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary general, to replace Amr Moussa, who will leave his position as head of the Arab League in May.

The diplomats said that the Qatari ambassador in Cairo and the permanent delegate to the Arab League have submitted an official memorandum for al-Attiyah's nomination to the league's deputy secretary general.

However, Qatar has said it might prove difficult to reach a consensus on al-Attiyah. Qatar has requested the addition of the nomination to the agenda of the upcoming Arab League summit in Baghdad.

Egypt has not presented an official nominee to succeed Moussa. However, officials say the country is determined to nominate an Egyptian to head the Arab League.

Egyptians have held the position of Arab League secretary general since the body's establishment in 1945, except for a brief period following Egypt’s signing of a peace agreement with Israel in 1979.

The ousted regime of former President Hosni Mubarak had nominated Mufeed Shehab, a former minister, for the job. But the new government has withdrawn that nomination.

New reports have also suggested that current Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil al-Arabi will be Egypt's nominee.

Arab diplomats, meanwhile, have said that Qatar's nominee is an unlikely winner because of objections made by Arab countries after Qatar's reactions to the popular uprisings currently sweeping the Arab world.

Arab diplomats have said the Qatari nominee will probably be unable to receive the support of Gulf Cooperation Council states, which traditionally have strong relations with Egypt and are unlikely to reject an Egyptian nominee.

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