During a meeting in Saudi Arabia, Arab ministers vowed on Saturday to continue negotiations to reach a political solution to the Syrian conflict, although they have yet to agree to approve a return to the Arab League to discuss the country’s fate. It has been torn apart by a civil war that has lasted more than a decade.
The meeting, which included senior diplomats from the Arab Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, was held in Jeddah for the first time since the kingdom was cut off after Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad visited Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic relations with Syria in 2012.
Notably, Damascus and Riyadh on Thursday said they were moving to reopen embassies and resume flights, the first time in more than a decade.
Syria has been widely ignored by Arab governments because of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on protesters in a 2011 uprising that descended into a bloody war.
The breakdown in relations culminated in Syria’s expulsion from the Arab League.
However, in recent years, as the Assad regime has consolidated its control over much of the country, Damascus’ neighbors have begun to take steps toward reconciliation.
The pace of these efforts has accelerated since the strong earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria last February 6, and then China’s restoration of mediated relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have supported opposing sides in the Syrian conflict.
Saudi Arabia will host the next Arab summit in May, where Syria’s membership is widely expected to be at the table.
Some members, notably Qatar, opposed the return to Damascus University, and the institute says Doha has not changed its position since meetings in Jeddah late Friday. Associated Press.
In a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry on Saturday, the ministers stressed that “a political solution is the only solution to the Syrian crisis and the importance of Arab leadership in efforts to end the crisis.”
They agreed to “establish the necessary mechanisms” to do so and “conduct intensive consultations among the Arab countries to make these efforts successful.”
In 12 years, more than half a million people have been killed and more than half of Syria’s population displaced in and out of the country, and the country has become a staging ground for settling scores between regional and international powers.
All of this left its mark on a tired economy, but Al-Assad, who was now looking forward to reconstruction funds, remained in his presidential palace.
His forces have retaken most of the territory lost at the start of the conflict, backed by his two main allies, Russia and Iran.
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