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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Report: Will Syria Restore Its 10-Year Vacant Seat?


Sun 20 Feb 2022 | 09:02 AM

The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, announced in Amman a few days ago that an Arab ministerial meeting will be held in early March to discuss the possibility of Syria's return to the Arab League.

This is a piece of good news, but what is behind this announcement, its consequences, and potential scenarios? 

The Arab League decided on November 12, 2011, about eight months after the unrest began in Syria, to suspend Syria's membership with the imposition of political and economic sanctions on Damascus, calling on the Syrian army to "not use violence against demonstrators."

There is currently a debate about the return of Damascus, following the military victories of the Syrian army, which was able to regain large areas from the militants and the armed opposition.

Let’s admit that there is a pision among the Arab countries.

In January 2019, the Tunisian foreign minister said that Syria's "natural position" is in the Arab League.

Iraq and Lebanon called for Syria's return to the Arab League, and the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in December 2018, after severing diplomatic relations since 2012.

Jordan maintained diplomatic relations with Syria and reopened the border between the two countries.

However, the League's Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said at the end of January 2019 that "there is no Arab consensus on the issue of reconsidering the decision to suspend Damascus's membership in the Arab League."

Aboul Gheit and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi discussed, early Feb. "efforts to find solutions to the crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya and to support Iraq and Lebanon," according to a statement issued by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

On the other hand, Aboul Gheit manifested that "the date of the next Arab summit to be held in Algeria has not yet been determined."

Moreover, it was decided to postpone the annual periodic summit of the League of Arab States at the level of leaders, which was scheduled to be held on March 22 in Algeria, due to the Covid-19 epidemic. This is the postponement for the third year in a row.

The last annual Arab League Leaders Summit was held in March 2019 in Tunisia, and the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to COVID-19.

The Arabs have paid the price for abandoning the Syrian file since the start of the crisis, which allowed regional powers to infiltrate. 

Mahmoud Khalifa, the military advisor to the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, stressed that Damascus's return to the League would be close, according to a Russian-owned Sputnik agency.

Furthermore, the Algerian president disclosed that the upcoming summit will deal with two prominent files; the renewal of the collective Arab commitment to the Palestinian cause, and ways to reform the work system of the League of Arab States in order to face the current challenges.

In this regard, former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Hussein Haridi told Sky News Arabia that suspending “Syria's membership was not a right decision and it is time to correct this mistake.”

"We cannot implement Security Council Resolution 2254 without the participation of Damascus,” Hariri added. 

To sum up, Syria will return its Arab home if an agreement is reached. Then, Damascus will be contacted and invited to attend the upcoming summit.

https://see.news/op-ed-why-should-arabs-re-embrace-syria/