Egypt pledges to return Syria to Arab League during Russian-brokered UN meeting

Egypt pledges to return Syria to Arab League during Russian-brokered UN meeting
Syria's return to the Arab League is of personal interest to President Sisi and part of his attempt to end the effects of the Arab Spring, according to diplomatic sources.
2 min read
30 September, 2021
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry pledged Cairo would help Damascus rejoin the Arab League [Getty]

Egypt has pledged to work towards seeing Syria return to the Arab League, ten years after it was suspended from the body due to the Assad regime's brutal suppression of protesters, according to reports.

Foreign ministers of both countries met at the UN General Assembly in New York last Friday, where they agreed to discuss Russian requests to Cairo for Syria's return to the league, The New Arab's sister publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry and Syrian FM Faisal Mekdad discussed the likelihood and benefits of persuading Arab countries to support efforts to end the isolation of Syria from the pan-Arab body, Egyptian sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

It was the first meeting between an Egyptian and Syrian foreign minister in 10 years.

Syria's return to the league is of personal interest to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi due to his efforts to end the effects of the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements, which rocked both countries in 2011, according to the sources.

The meeting was held in the first hours of Shoukry's visit to New York in an attempt to emphasise the seriousness of Cairo's desire to develop relations with the Syrian regime to Moscow, the sources said.

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Local, US, and other international mediators were also present, in the ministers' hopes of convincing the new President Joe Biden administration to cancel or amend the 2020 Caesar Act.

This imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime preventing reconstruction efforts and the normalisation of trade Bashar Al-Assad due to the mass torture and murder of detainees in Syria.

Cairo pledged to Moscow and Damascus that it would work to return Syria to the Arab League as soon as possible, but said it would be unable to solve the issue alone.

Egyptian and UAE diplomats have reportedly put pressure on other Arab countries opposed to normalisation with the Assad regime to change their stance.

Syria was suspended from the 22-member Arab League bloc in November 2011 as the regime's escalating crackdown led to an increase in violence.

The US said on Thursday that it had no plans to "normalise or upgrade" diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime. and also does not encourage others to do so.