Syria’s return to the Arab League approved
Syria's government of long-time ruler Bashar al-Assad will return to the Arab League after years of isolation.
Syria will return to the Arab League after years of isolation, according to officials from Iraq. The Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday the approval of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers on the return of Syria to its seat in the Arab League, according to the state agency INA.
The ministry's spokesman, Ahmed al-Sahhaf, told the Iraqi News Agency (INA): "The meeting of Arab foreign ministers agreed on the return of Syria to its seat in the Arab League."
According to reports by the Al-Arabiya news channel and the Emirati newspaper "The National", the move is linked to several conditions. Syria is to be obliged to resume talks with the opposition on a new constitution and to pave the way for elections. In addition, the government of long-time ruler Bashar al-Assad is to allow refugees to return, provide cross-border humanitarian aid and curb drug smuggling to neighbouring countries. In return, the Arab countries want to financially support reconstruction in Syria and persuade allied states to withdraw from Syria.
Syria's membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 because of the Damascus regime's brutal treatment of the opposition since the "Arab Spring". The uprisings developed into a civil war that turned into a proxy war and continues to this day. According to estimates, more than half a million people have lost their lives in the war, and around 14 million Syrians have had to leave their homes. Almost half of the refugees are on the run within Syria.
A political solution is the "only way" to reach an agreement, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at the opening of the meeting in Cairo on Sunday. He stated that interference by foreign states exacerbated the crisis in Syria. According to Shoukry, the main responsibility for a solution lies with the government in Damascus. Together with its allies, it now controls about 70 per cent of the country.
The next summit of the 22-member organisation is scheduled for 19 May in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom can invite Assad to this meeting with Sunday's decision. According to Al-Arabiya, Syrian delegations will be able to attend Arab League meetings again from now on.