Arab League set to readmit Syria as relations with Assad normalise

People shop at Souk al-Hamidieh decorated with banners depicting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of the May 26 presidential election, in Damascus, Syria May 22, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Arab League is expected to readmit Syria at a meeting of foreign ministers on Sunday, a spokesperson for the League said, consolidating a regional push to normalise ties with President Bashar al-Assad.

The decision was expected to be adopted at a closed meeting of Arab foreign ministers at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo, said Gamal Roshdy, spokesman for the Arab League’s secretary general.

Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 after a bloody crackdown on street protests against Assad that led to a devastating civil war, and many Arab states pulled their envoys out of Damascus.

Recently, several Arab states including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have re-engaged with Syria in high-level visits and meetings, though some, including Qatar, remain opposed to full normalisation without a political solution to Syria’s conflict.

Arab states have been trying to reach consensus on whether to invite Assad to an Arab League summit on May 19 in Riyadh to discuss the pace of normalising ties and on what terms Syria could be allowed back.

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