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Qatar Opens Democracy Forum

Prominent Arab figures from throughout the Middle East are currently gathering in the Qatari capital Doha while attending the fifth forum on free trade and democracy.

Participants are discussing the United States’ Greater Middle East initiative as well as the part of civil society, and especially women, in creating a democratic climate in the region.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson stressed the importance of granting women their rights and incorporating them in all fields in the Arab world.

According to the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, former Yemenite prime minister ‘Abd Al-Karim Al-Iryani said the region is bending to political regimes which have fledgling democracies.

The forum is attended by numerous American congressmen and academics. The French President Jacques Chirac will also send a message to the forum via the French ambassador.