Lebanon’s Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has called on the Arab League to restore Syria’s membership in the regional organization, describing attempts to block the move as a “historic mistake.”
“We Arab nations don’t know how to look out for each other. Arab states continue to trade blame for suffering across the region rather than assembling plans to alleviate it,” Bassil said as he opened the first session of an Arab economic summit in Beirut on Friday, Press TV reported.
Among the biggest challenges facing Arab nations, the top Lebanese diplomat said, are war, malnutrition and poverty, in addition to extremism and the denial of women’s basic rights.
“Let’s build a united Arab economic vision, based on the political principle of not attacking each other,” Bassil said.
“Syria should return to us… Syria should be in our embrace instead of throwing it into the embrace of terrorism,” he pointed out.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim recently said the Baghdad government supports the restoration of Syria’s membership in the Arab League.
“We discussed solutions to eliminate terrorism in Syria and support the Syrian government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Hakim said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad on Monday.
“We also discussed supporting Iraq’s efforts to restore Syria’s (membership) to the Arab League,” he added.
On January 8, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the incumbent Damascus government needs to implement a number of measures toward the political settlement of the ongoing Syrian crisis in order for the conflict-plagued country to reinstate its membership in the Arab League.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Cairo, Shoukry said such measures are required “in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” which endorses a road map for a peace process in Syria, and sets out the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire.
“There’s a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria within the political framework sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” the top Egyptian diplomat pointed out.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on December 28, 2018 that work at the kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic was going on whilst the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain was carrying out its duties and flights connecting the two countries were operational without interruption.”
It came a day after the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in Damascus.
The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
The move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,” the ministry pointed out.
On December 16 last year, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab League leader to visit Damascus.
Syria’s official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they both headed to the presidential palace.
The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the “situations and crises faced by many Arab countries,” the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
SANA quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
He also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria’s territorial integrity.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies have been aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.