Arab League chief says no consensus on readmitting Syria but issue to be discussed

Ministerial meeting to be held next month on letting Assad regime back into organisation

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. AFP
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Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Wednesday that the Syrian regime was unlikely to be present at the next Arab summit, with consensus lacking to readmit the country into the organisation.

But Mr Aboul Gheit said member states would discuss letting the regime of Bashar Al Assad back in next month.

“Until this moment it does not seem so,” he told Jordanian state broadcaster Al Mamlaka as to whether representatives from Syria would be at this year’s Arab League summit in Algeria.

“An Arab ministerial meeting will convene at the start of next month to discuss the possibility of the return of Syria to the Arab League."

The Arab League suspended Syria in November 2011 as the crackdown on the revolt against five decades of Assad family rule intensified and the regime sent tanks into rebel cities across the country.

This year’s Arab summit was due in March in Algeria but it has been indefinitely postponed because of Covid-19 and “the general Arab situation”, Mr Aboul Gheit said.

He was speaking after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman.

Jordan has been a leading proponent of talks with the Assad government and did not close its embassy in Damascus, as most regional countries did in response to the regime’s crackdown on the revolt.

Bahrain and the UAE reopened their embassies in Damascus at the end of 2018.

Mr Aboul Gheit said there needed to be Arab agreement on a “specific course” to readmit Syria into the league.

He said he believed Damascus would be readmitted if consensus developed among member states “to talk with the rulers of Syria” and if the regime “responds to the Arab positions”.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 10:31 PM