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ARAB LEAGUE ELECTED EGYPT FM AS NEW CHIEF

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CAIRO, Egypt - Arab states picked Egypt's foreign minister on Sunday to lead the Arab League during a period of unprecedented turmoil in the region and after last minute diplomacy left only one candidate in the race.
Egypt changed its candidate for head of the 22-member Arab organisation at the last minute on Sunday, backing Nabil Elaraby(right photo), who was quickly elected.
He replaces Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister, who after 10 years as the organisation's chief has resigned in order to run for the office of president in Egypt.

"This is the toughest assignment I will have," Elaraby said in an acceptance speech that was broadcast live on television.
  • Egypt's state news agency announced the change in candidate and, shortly after, Qatar's Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Attiyah(right photo), a former secretary-general of the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council, announced his withdrawal.
  • Egypt had fielded a career diplomat - Mostafa el-Fekki - a former member of parliament for the former president's ruling party, although he quit his post during the 18-day uprising that led to president Hosni Mubarak being pushed out of power on February 11.
  • Egypt then switched its candidate to Elaraby, a former judge at the International Court of Justice and previously Egypt's representative at the United Nations.
Elaraby, appointed foreign minister after Mubarak was ousted, has carved a fresh diplomatic track for Egypt since taking over the ministry.
He has been a tougher critic of Israel, more supportive of Palestinians and has offered an opening to Iran.
Source: Agency
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