Saudi to shun Paris book fair
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia said it will boycott this year's Paris book fair because Israel is invited as guest of honour.
RIYADH, March 4, 2008 - Oil-rich Saudi Arabia said on Monday it will
boycott this year's Paris book fair because Israel is invited as guest of
"Saudi Arabia will not participate in the fair due to Israel's presence as
guest of honour," a Saudi official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Saudi Arabia has taken part in the fair in previous years.
Several Muslim countries and writers' associations have said they will stay
away from this year's fair on March 14-19, after organisers announced that 39
Israeli writers were being invited to mark the 60th anniversary of the
creation of the Jewish state.
The 50-nation Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has
called for a boycott of the event by Muslim states.
The head of Yemen's Public Book Authority, Faris al-Saqqaf, told AFP that
Sanaa will not participate in the fair at the request of the Arab League.
In the gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar, Abdullah al-Ansari, director of the
government authority in charge of books, said Doha had never participated in
the fair and did not receive an invitation this year.
Qatar is one of a handful of Arab states to have political contacts with
Officials in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain said their countries had
not planned to go to the show, while Israel's archfoe Iran has said it is
boycotting the fair.