Syrian FM Faisal Mekdad announces reopening of Tunisia embassy during 'normalisation' visit

Syrian FM Faisal Mekdad announces reopening of Tunisia embassy during 'normalisation' visit
As more Arab countries normalise ties with the Syrian regime its foreign minister announced from Tunisia the reopening of his country's diplomatic mission.
2 min read
19 April, 2023
Tunisia closed Syria's embassy a decade ago but has made moves to normalise ties since 2015 [Getty]

Syrian regime Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad is expected to wrap up his three-day visit to Tunisia on Wednesday, where he announced the reopening of his country's embassy.

The development comes in light of wider Arab rapprochement with Damascus, most of which cut off ties with President Bashar al-Assad's regime following his brutal repression of pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the conflict which ensued.

More than hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced since then.

Upon meeting his Tunisian counterpart Nabil Ammar and Tunisian President Kais Saied, Mekdad announced the reopening of Syria's embassy in Tunis. Saied previously said he too wanted to name a new ambassador for his country in Damascus, and on Tuesday expressed his willingness to restore full diplomatic ties with Syria.

The two sides also agreed to cooperate on other political, economic and security-related issues.

Tunisia like most Arab countries broke ties with Syria in 2011 following the regime's brutal suppression of peaceful protests.

Although Tunisia closed the Syrian embassy a decade ago, it designated a consular service in Syria in 2015, saying at the time it aimed to offer services to Tunisians there.

Mekdad has already visited Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and was in Algeria right before his Tunisia trip.

Saudi Arabia has recently been at the forefront of accelerating Arab efforts to normalise relations with Assad, and its Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Damascus on Tuesday, the first visit of its kind since 2011.

Assad is expected to attend an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia next month, his first since the regional body suspended his membership over a decade ago. Kuwait, Qatar and Morocco reportedly oppose the plan.

The normalisation efforts in the region come after a historic China-brokered deal last month which saw Saudi Arabia and long-time regional foe Iran end years of diplomatic hostilities.

The deal has set the stage for wider reconciliations and peace settlements in the region, including Yemen, where Riyadh and Tehran have been embroiled in a years-long bloody proxy war.

Saudi-Iranian reconciliation is also expected to have repercussions on other countries in the region in the coming months, including Iraq and Lebanon, the latter of which is home to the powerful Shia Hezbollah militant group.