International News

Syria’s return to Arab League depends on political progress: Egypt’s FM

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry says the incumbent Damascus government needs to implement a number of measures toward the political settlement of the ongoing Syrian crisis in order for the conflict-plagued country to reinstate its membership in the Arab League.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Cairo on Tuesday, Shoukry said such measures are required “in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” which endorsed a road map for a peace process in Syria, and set out the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire.
“There’s a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria through the political framework sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” the top Egyptian diplomat pointed out.
Shoukry also noted that he has no information about the possible participation of Syria in the upcoming Arab League summit.
“Such a decision should be made by the Council of the Arab League, and then approved at the highest level … As of now, the situation [on the reinstatement of Syria in the organization] remains unchanged,” the Egyptian foreign minister said.
Earlier, some reports had hinted at Syria’s possible participation in the forthcoming Arab Economic and Social Development Summit that is slated to be held in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut later this month.
Meanwhile, Lebanese diplomatic sources said on Tuesday that Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan are going to table a tripartite proposal aimed at Syria’s return to the Arab League during the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit.
The sources, requesting not to be named, said the proposal, which enjoys Egypt’s support, will be put forward on Wednesday.
They added that caretaker Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil is trying to turn the forthcoming event into “a summit of reconciliation with Damascus.”
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
On December 28, 2018, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that work at the kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic is going on whilst the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain is carrying out its duties and flights connecting the two countries are operational without interruption.”
The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
The move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,” the ministry pointed out.
On December 16, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab League leader to visit Damascus.
Syria’s official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they both headed to the presidential palace.
The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the “situations and crises faced by many Arab countries,” the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
SANA quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
He also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria’s territorial integrity.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.