President Assad Attends Arab League Summit for First Time in Over a Decade

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrives at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 18, 2023 to attend the Arab League summit the following day. (Photo by SANA)

Jeddah, MINA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Saudi Arabia attending the Arab League Summit at the official invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first participation since foreign-backed militancy began in the country more than a decade ago.

Assad arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on Thursday to attend the 32nd regular session of the 22-member bloc the next day, Syrian state television reported.

The Syrian presidency said in a statement on May 10 that the 57-year-old leader had accepted an invitation to the May 19 Arab summit in Saudi Arabia.

Assad said the summit “will enhance joint Arab action to achieve the aspirations of the Arab people,” the statement added.

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Jordan Nayef bin Bandar al-Sudairi conveyed the invitation.

Representatives of Arab governments in Cairo voted on May 7 to return Syria to the Arab League after a 12-year suspension.

All 13 of the 22 member countries that attended the session supported the decision. However, there is still no Arab consensus on normalizing relations with Damascus.

Several governments did not attend the meeting. Among the most notable absentees is Qatar, which continues to support the so-called moderate opposition to the ruling Damascus government.

The vote in the Egyptian capital came days after top Arab diplomats met in Jordan, discussing a roadmap for bringing Syria back to where it was at a time when the foreign-sponsored conflict was in its final stages.

The decision also includes a commitment to ongoing dialogue with Arab governments to gradually reach a political solution to the conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Additionally, the Arab League set up a communications committee consisting of Saudi Arabia and Syria’s neighbors Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to follow up on these developments. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)