Syria was taken back in the Arab League after more than a decade of being kicked out. The move shows efforts by the Arab League to normalize ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has been condemned by the US.
Although the United Arab Emirates along with other Arab states have agreed on the readmission of Syria into the powerful Arab group, it has been allowed with some conditions. The League has urged for resolving the crisis of Syria’s civil war, including the immigration of refugees to nearby nations and drug smuggling in the entire region.
Some member states have opposed the readmission of Syria in the group unless it resolves its conflict. Those in the Arab world supporting Syria are looking for favorable conditions for Syria’s return.
Qatar had earlier opposed Syria’s return to the League and even now it has not changed its stance on normalizing relations with the latter. According to Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, it also considered regional consensus on Syria as nothing but “a motive for the Syrian regime to address the roots of the crisis.”
According to the League’s decision, Syria can participate in its meetings from the moment on while also urging the country to resolve its civil war, while also preventing immigration of refugees to surrounding nations and smuggling of drugs around the region.
Talking to reporters in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, “The reinstatement of Syria does not mean normalization of relations between Arab countries and Syria. This is a sovereign decision for each country to make,” however, Syria urged Arab states to show “mutual respect”.
Speaking on behalf of the US State Department, a spokesperson stated that while Washington shared the objectives of its Arab allies in Syria, including fostering security and stability it continues to be “sceptical of Assad’s willingness to take the steps necessary to resolve Syria’s crisis”. He further said, “We do not believe Syria merits readmission into the Arab League at this time,” making it clear that US sanctions would continue to be functional.
Spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, in a statement said, “Moscow welcomes this long-awaited step, the logical result of the process, which has gained momentum, of returning Syria to the ‘Arab family.”
The decision, taken on Sunday, ordered the forming of a ministerial group to include Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan that would cooperate with the government of Syria and come out with solutions by following some corresponding steps. One of those steps include speeding up the supply of aid to Syria.