No consensus on return of Syrian Arab League after Saudi summit


BEIRUT (AP) After meeting in Saudi Arabia to discuss Syria’s political fate, a group of regional leaders on Saturday vowed to continue talks to reach a political solution to the Syrian conflict, but the Arab League paused to announce his return to support the

The meeting, which was attended by top diplomats from the Arab Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, was convened days after the Syrian foreign minister’s first visit to Saudi Arabia since the kingdom cut ties with Syria in 2012.

Syria and Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that they were reopening their embassies for the first time in more than a decade and that they were looking to resume flights between the two countries.

Syria has largely been shunned by Arab governments over Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on protesters in the 2011 riots that devolved into civil war. The breakdown of relations has led to Syria’s expulsion from the Arab League. In recent years, however, Syria’s neighbors have begun taking steps toward reconciliation as the Assad regime tightened control over most of the country. The overture has picked up speed since the 6 February earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria, prompting China-brokered restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which had been supporting rival sides in the Syrian conflict.

Saudi Arabia is set to host the next Arab League summit in May and Syria’s accession is widely expected to be on the table.Some members, mainly Qatar, oppose Damascus’s return to the organization. doing.

Qatar did not appear to have changed its stance after the meetings convened in Jeddah late Friday.

A statement issued by the Saudi foreign ministry Saturday said the ministers had “stressed that a political solution is the only solution to the Syrian crisis, and the importance of having an Arab leadership role in efforts to end the crisis.” They agreed to “set up the necessary mechanisms” to do so and hold “intensifying consultations among Arab countries to ensure the success of these efforts.

The ministers also condemned recent Israeli police raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City and “emphasized the centrality and priority of the Palestinian cause, and condemned illegal Israeli practices that undermine the two-state solution” with an “independent and sovereign Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem” based on pre-1967 borders, the statement said.

Also on Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad arrived in Algeria on an official visit to discuss “strengthening bilateral relations” and “coordinating positions between the two countries” in the “Arab and international arenas,” Syrian state media reported. Algeria is one of the few Arab countries that did not cut off relations with Syria during the conflict.