Arab FMs to discuss Syria’s Arab League membership on Friday

Arab FMs to discuss Syria’s Arab League membership on Friday
2 min read
12 April, 2023
Jordan is reportedly leading the push to bring Syria back into the regional fold, proposing a plan which would see Syria commit to gradual political changes in exchange for normalised relations.
Syria was ejected from the Arab League in 2011 following the regime's violent crackdown on peaceful protests. [Getty]
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A group of Arab Foreign Ministers will meet on Friday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to discuss readmitting Syria to the Arab League ahead of the next meeting of the pan-Arab group on 19 May.

Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 after the regime's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Foreign Ministers from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as well as Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, will attend Friday's meeting, the spokesperson for Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Majed al-Ansari revealed on Tuesday.

Al-Ansari also said that Qatar's position on Syria "has not changed," and that any change in its position would have to be accompanied by an "Arab consensus" and "changes on the ground" for the people of Syria.

Qatar has supported Syria's opposition throughout the country's 11-year civil war and has rejected any normalisation with the regime until now.

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On Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was in Riyadh for the first time in over a decade, for bilateral talks.

Reuters previously reported that Saudi Arabia was planning to invite Syria to the next Arab League summit.

Saudi Arabia's FM Prince Faisal Bin Farhan also said on 8 March that the regional status quo on Syria needed to change.

There has been an unprecedented push from Arab states to normalise with the Syrian regime since the 6 February earthquake.

Previously, the regime was an international pariah which had limited formal contact with its regional neighbours.

Jordan is reportedly leading the push to bring Syria back into the regional fold, proposing a plan which would see Syria commit to gradual political changes in exchange for normalised relations.

The proposed reforms include creating safe conditions for the return of Syrian refugees and a more transparent political process.

Human rights advocates have warned that ending Syria’s diplomatic isolation could come at the expense of accountability, citing the war crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own population.

Syria's readmission to the Arab League would have to come about through a "consensus" of the member states.

Kuwait also said that it would abide by the outcome of Friday’s meeting on whether or not Syria should be allowed to rejoin the body.

The Arab League has little impact on actual policy in the region, but Syria's return to the body would be deeply symbolic of the region's posture towards its regime.

 
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