Iraq played vital role in Syria's return to Arab League, foreign minister says

Baghdad remained committed to Damascus ending its 12-year absence, says Fuad Hussein

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, left, meets Saudi deputy foreign minister Walid Al Khuraiji in Jeddah. SPA
Powered by automated translation

Iraq played a vital role in restoring Syria's position in the Arab League, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said on Friday, hours before the start of a historic meeting in Saudi Arabia.

Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad arrived in Saudi Arabia's port city of Jeddah late on Thursday to take part in the 32nd summit, beginning on Friday afternoon. It will be his first time appearance at the meeting since Syria was suspended from the regional body 12 years ago.

The Syrian government's repression of pro-democracy protesters triggered a negative response from the international community and suspension from the Arab League.

Half a million people have died in Syria's civil war and millions of Syrians have been displaced worldwide.

“Since Syria was ousted from the Arab League, Iraq has been committed to its return and exercising its important role in joint Arab action,” Mr Hussein told the Iraqi News Agency.

Iraq contributed effectively to Syria's return to its seat. Syria's return to its seat helps secure stability in the country and the region.”

He said “an Arab team, committee, and joint meetings will continue with Syria until it is stable and reconstruction is complete”.

Mr Hussein is part of the Iraqi delegation at the meeting in Saudi Arabia.

“The most important issues that will be discussed at the Arab summit are regional challenges, such as the conflict in Sudan, the Palestinian issue, the economic challenges facing the Arab nation, and the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war,” he said.

Discussions among Arab leaders will focus on Syria's return to the league, the impact of its 12-year civil war and measures to address reconstruction, and the safe return of refugees.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al Sudani is in Saudi Arabia for the meeting.

Mr Al Assad is expected to give a speech during the summit at the Ritz Carlton in Jeddah.

Updated: May 19, 2023, 10:33 AM