Arab League Readmits Syria As Relations With Assad Normalise

Arab League foreign ministers have decided to readmit Syria after more than a decade of suspension, consolidating a regional push to normalize ties with President Bashar al-Assad.

The decision said Syria could resume its participation in Arab League meetings immediately while calling for resolving the crisis resulting from the country’s civil war, including the flight of refugees to neighboring countries and drug smuggling across the region.

According to Gamal Roshdy, a spokesperson for the Arab League’s secretary general, the decision was made during a closed meeting of foreign ministers at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo.

While Arab states including the United Arab Emirates have pushed for Syria and Assad’s rehabilitation, others, including Qatar, have remained opposed to full normalization without a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

Arab League Readmits Syria

Some have been keen to set conditions for Syria’s return. Jordan’s foreign minister said last week that the Arab League’s reacceptance of Syria would be the start of “a very long and difficult and challenging process.”

Sunday’s decision said Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and the Arab League’s secretary general would form a ministerial contact group to liaise with the Syrian government and seek “step-by-step” solutions to the crisis.

According to a copy of the resolution obtained by Reuters, practical initiatives included continuing attempts to enable the delivery of aid in Syria.

Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 following a crackdown on anti-Assad street rallies that triggered a horrific civil war. Many Arab states withdrew their envoys from Damascus.

Recently, Arab states have been trying to reach a consensus on whether to invite Assad to an Arab League summit on 19 May in Riyadh to discuss the pace of normalizing ties and on what terms Syria could be allowed back.

Saudi Arabia long resisted restoring relations with Assad but said after its recent rapprochement with Iran – Syria’s key regional ally – that a fresh approach was needed with Damascus.

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