| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Arab foreign ministers discuss Syria crisis at Saudi meeting

At a conference in Saudi Arabia, Gulf Arab foreign ministers and their counterparts from Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan addressed Syria’s probable return to the Arab fold, according to the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The summit, conducted in the Saudi city of Jeddah amid a recent thaw in regional tensions, was convened by Saudi Arabia but concluded without agreement, according to the statement.

In contrast to 2011, when many Western and Arab governments boycotted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his deadly crackdown on protestors, some Arab states, especially regional heavyweights Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have restored ties with Damascus.

However, Syria’s broader normalization with the Arab world remains a sensitive issue for several countries.

Earlier this week, Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said the original basis for the 2011 suspension of Syria’s membership in the Arab League still stands.

Jordan said ahead of a meeting it was pushing a joint Arab peace plan that could end the devastating consequences of the over decade old Syrian conflict, according to a source close to the matter.

Hundreds of thousands of people died in the war, which drew in numerous foreign powers and splintered the country.

Abu Dhabi and Oman also received Assad as normalisation gathered momentum elsewhere in the region following a devastating quake that hit Turkey and Syria.

Regional superpower Saudi Arabia, which has long resisted normalization with Assad, said after a rapprochement with Iran, Syria’s key regional ally, a new approach was needed with Damascus.

Both countries agreed to reopen embassies soon.

  • Reuters