Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived Thursday in Jeddah to participate in the 32nd Arab Summit, for the first time in 12 years.
Al-Assad is participating in the Arab summit for the first time in 12 years, after freezing his country’s membership in the Arab League in 2011 with the outbreak of the Syrian crisis.
The Sirte summit in Libya in 2010 was the last Arab summit attended by Assad, before the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, before the Arab League decided to freeze Damascus’ membership.
The Syrian presidency said earlier, Thursday, that al-Assad had gone to Jeddah to participate in the work of the thirty-second session of the Arab League Council meeting at the summit level, which will be held on Friday.
Al-Assad had received an official invitation from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who chairs the current session of the Arab summit.
On May 7, the Arab League decided to resume the participation of Syrian government delegations in its meetings, more than a decade after the suspension of Damascus’ membership, against the backdrop of the crisis that has gripped the country since 2011.
Syria participated in the preparatory meetings for the work of the Arab summit after 12 years of absence, and its foreign minister, Faisal al-Miqdad, attended the foreign ministers’ preparatory meeting for the Arab summit, which took place on Wednesday in Jeddah.
Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, considered that Syria’s return to the Arab League ushers in “a new phase in dealing with Syria, and with the Syrian file in general.”
Zaki told Al-Sharq, “The situation in the past 12 years was difficult and full of entanglements, complications and obstacles.”
He added, “Now, there is a new phase. It is hoped that the return of Syria will encourage a form of support for the Arab role in dealing with the Syrian issue,” to find a solution to it, noting that in the past, “there was no major role for the Arab countries in dealing with this issue.” “.
Regarding the possibility of Arab initiatives for reconstruction in Syria, he said that the issue of reconstruction “involves problems that are not only related to the Arab situation or the Arab will. The situation is complicated, because Syria is subject to comprehensive and strong US and European sanctions.”
He added, “Dealing with these sanctions requires a lot of work, a lot of contacts, and persuading other countries to lift the sanctions,” noting that this task “is not easy and will definitely take a long time.”
In addition, he considered that the return of Syrian refugees is “a pressing issue, especially for the Arab countries of asylum, which are mainly Lebanon and Jordan.” He said, “It is now hoped that Syria will provide the appropriate conditions for the return of Syrians in accordance with international concepts and the Refugee Convention, including a dignified, voluntary and safe return.”
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