Economic talks open Arab League meeting in Iraq


BAGHDAD (AP) -- Economic ministers from across the Arab world are looking at ways to develop tourism and ensure access to increasingly strapped water supplies in the region to boost economic stability in their countries.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby on Tuesday said there are financial and technical obstacles that have hampered such development in the 21 nations whose leaders are in Baghdad for an annual meeting.

Elaraby said the Arab world also needs better planning to deal with natural disasters.

The meeting of economic ministers was the first event of the three-day Arab League summit that is being held in Iraq for the first time in a generation at a cost of $500 million.

Iraqi troops, SWAT teams and undercover police lined streets to protect dignitaries and journalists attending the meeting.