DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — A parliamentary delegation representing eight Arab countries traveled to Syria on Sunday, the first trip to a country whose membership in the Arab League has been suspended since 2011.
The official Syrian News Agency (SANA) reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received representatives of the Arab Parliamentary Union participating in a trade union conference that concluded its work in Baghdad on Saturday.
According to Sanaa, the delegation includes the head of the Arab Parliamentary Union and the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and the speakers of the parliaments of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Palestine, Libya and Egypt. Heads of Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman and Lebanon and Secretary General of the Arab Parliamentary Union.
Egyptian parliament speaker Hanabi al-Jabali said “Syria will return to its normal position in the Arab League and this visit is to support the Syrian leadership, government and people,” the Syrian News Agency said.
Al-Jabali added, “We came to show solidarity with dear brother Syria and support its people in facing the aftermath of the earthquake, and we assure the Syrian people that we are brothers and we stand by them in these difficult situations.”
Al-Jabali said, “After the 34th conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union held in Baghdad yesterday, other Arab parliamentary groups decided to form a group to go to Syria to confirm their support, which will come to Damascus today in succession.”
In the wake of the Feb. 6 earthquake that killed 5,841 people in government- and opposition-held areas of Syria, there were signs of possible Arab reconciliation after more than a decade of Syria’s isolation from its Arab environment.
At that time, the leaders of the Arab countries made direct contacts with the Syrian president and expressed their condolences to the victims of the earthquake. Planes carrying Arab aid landed at government-controlled airports.
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