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Baghdad to close airport from March 26 ahead of AL summit: report

03-14-2012 16:25 BJT

BAGHDAD, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Iraq will shut its Baghdad international airport from March 26 until the end of the Arab summit scheduled to be held on March 29, an official Iraqi newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"Baghdad International Airport will be closed from March 26 ( until March 29) as part of preparations to receive the delegations participating in Baghdad summit," the state-run al-Sabah newspaper quoted the head of Iraq's civil aviation authority Nasser Hussein Bandar as saying.

The Arab summit will be held on March 29, but will be preceded by a meeting for Arab economy ministers on March 27 and Arab foreign ministers on March 28.

On the other hand, the summit will be held under unprecedented security measures in the Iraqi capital, as dozens of thousands of Iraqi security forces will carry out deployment across Baghdad, the paper said.

"There will be between 70,000 to 100,000 security members being deployed in Baghdad to secure the capital during the summit," Maj. Gen. Hassan al-Baydhani, top officer in Baghdad Operations Command who is responsible for security of the capital, told the paper.

He said that reinforcement troops have been moved to Baghdad from southern and northern Iraqi provinces to deploy in the capital for the summit.

Earlier, Baghdad said it has completed its preparation for the summit and is ready to receive the Arab leaders despite sporadic violence across the country which is seen as a setback to the Iraqi efforts to restore normalcy ahead of the summit.

Iraq sees the summit as a significant milestone in its history that would lead the country to play a powerful and positive role in the Arab world.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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