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Egypt's ex-foreign minister appointed as Arab League chief

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Egypts ex-foreign minister appointed as Arab League chief
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Cairo: Egyptian former foreign minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit was appointed on Thursday as the new secretary general of the Arab League.

In an emergency meeting in Cairo, the Arab League council unanimously agreed to appoint Abul-Gheit as the new chief to replace outgoing secretary-general Nabil Al-Araby, 80, who declined a second five-year term, Xinhua reported.

According to Article 12 of the Arab League Pact, the secretary general is to be appointed upon the vote of two-thirds of the member states, currently 21 after the suspension of Syria's membership over its crisis.

Abul-Gheit served as Egypt's foreign minister from 2004 until 2011 under former long-time leader Hosni Mubarak who was ousted by mass protests in February 2011.

Egypt's nomination of Abul-Gheit for the post was initially rejected by Qatar and Sudan, and a four-member committee of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates was formed earlier on Thursday to discuss the objections.

The outgoing Arab League chief Al-Araby said on Thursday that he "recommended the Arab League council to update the body's pact to cope with the regional changes".

Founded in Cairo in 1945, the Arab League is a regional organisation of Arab states with the main goal of drawing closer inter-Arab relations and coordinating Arab positions on regional and international issues.

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