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AFP | February 27, 2008

Lebanon to boycott Paris book fair

BEIRUT (AFP) — Lebanon is to stay away from this year's Paris book fair in protest at the invitation of Israel as guest of honour, Culture Minister Tarek Mitri announced on Wednesday.

"Lebanon will not participate this year in protest at the cultural event's organisers' decision to select Israel as guest of honour," Mitri said in a statement.

Lebanon is the first Arab government to announce a boycott of the March 14 to 19 event after organisers announced that 39 Israeli writers were being invited to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state.

On Tuesday, the 50-nation Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISECSCO), called for a boycott of the event by Islamic states.

"The crimes against humanity that Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories... constitute, in themselves, a strong condemnation of Israel, making it unworthy of being welcomed as a guest of honour at an international book fair," the group said.

Twenty-five Egyptian groups have announced that they will not take part, as has the Union of Algerian Writers.

In Sanaa, the head of the state-run Public Book Authority, Dr Faris al-Saqqaf, told AFP that Yemen would not be participating at the request of the Arab League.

Bahrain and Qatar said they did not normally take part in any case.

Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jNWc0VnnccM3KvjQZA4jSfWbXU1Q

Posted on 27-02-2008


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