Syria and Tunisia resume diplomatic relations


TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) Syria’s chief diplomat is on a mission to restore diplomatic ties that were severed during the 2012 civil war after President Bashar al-Assad cracked down on mass protests against his rule. 

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Amal shortly after his arrival on Monday night. Details about the meeting and Mikdad’s schedule for Tuesday or Wednesday were not given.

The Tunisian foreign ministry said in a statement that the visit aims to help restore bilateral relations.

In February, Said announced his decision to raise the level of Tunisian diplomatic representation in Damascus, stressing that the crisis facing the Assad regime “is an internal affair that affects only the Syrian people”. bottom. The move comes as Tunisia is sending emergency humanitarian aid to Syria after an earthquake that killed tens of thousands in the country and neighboring Turkey. Mikdad’s visit to Tunisia is the second leg of a journey that began in Algeria, one of the few Arab countries to maintain diplomatic relations during the Syrian civil war.

Influential Tunisian Islamist leader Ratched Ghannouchi was arrested following a police raid after his lawyers said his supporters accused the president of suppressing the Tunisian opposition. Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahdha party, is Said’s most prominent critic.

Last week Mikdad also traveled to Saudi Arabia. The two countries are looking to reopen their embassies and resume flights for the first time in more than a decade, he said. Syria was alienated from Arab countries over the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on demonstrators in 2011. The breakdown of relations culminated in 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 move is a clear example of how the situation in the region has changed over the past decade.

Tunisia is the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring pro-democracy movement that swept Syria, and has long been one of the country’s strongest critics of President Assad. Today, however, Tunisian leadership is returning to authoritarianism and is being reorganized into Assad’s Syria. Earlier this month, Tunisian President Kais Said ordered an ambassador to be appointed to the Syrian capital Damascus. This followed the Syrian government’s decision to reopen its embassy in Tunis and appoint an ambassador.