OAN Roy Francis
10:57 AM – Tuesday, May 9, 2023
The Arab league has agreed to reinstate Syria, taking another step towards bringing back Syrian President Bashar Assad back into the fold of the league after a 12-year suspension.
Syria’s membership to the Arab League was revoked in 2011 after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had brutally repressed pro-Democracy protests in the country.
The actions of Assad had led to the civil war in the country that has claimed almost 500,000 lives since it began, along with the detainment or disappearance of another 100,000, and displaced over 20 million people according to the United Nations.
The readmittance of Syria to the Arab League comes ahead of the planned summit in Saudi Arabia later in May, which may now be attended by Assad.
The United States and United Kingdom both criticized the reinstatement of Syria.
A state department spokesman said that the Arab country does not deserve to be reinstated. However, the White House has stated that they support the Arab League’s objective of solving the crisis in Syria.
The U.K. Minister of State Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Lord Ahmad denounced the move and said that the U.K remains “opposed to engagement with the Assad regime” and that the regime has continued to “detain, torture and kill innocent people.”
The decision by the Arab League represents a small victory for Damascus since Western sanctions against Assad’s government remain in place, and reconstruction funds are not likely to be released to the country.
The Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the decision to return Syria to the league is a part of the process of resolving the conflict in the nation. Adding that relations between Syria and certain
This does not mean that the Syria crisis has been resolved, on the contrary,” he said. “But it allows the Arab (states) for the first time in years to communicate with the Syrian government to discuss all the problems.”
The decision also included a commitment by Arab governments, namely Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, to attempt to reach a political solution to the conflict in Syria, in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.
Opponents of Assad viewed the reinstatement of Syria into the Arab League as a betrayal. Laila Kiki, the executive director of the international advocacy group, The Syria Campaign, said that the diplomatic agendas of the Arab states are taking precedent over basic humanity.
“Arab states have put their own cynical realpolitik and diplomatic agendas above basic humanity,” Kiki, said, adding that the move has “cruelly betrayed tens of thousands of victims of the regime’s war crimes and granted Assad a green light to continue committing horrific crimes with impunity.”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Samer Shoukry said that only an Arab-led “political solution without foreign dictates” will be able to end the ongoing conflict in the country.
“The different stages of the Syrian crisis proved that it has no military solution, and that there is no victor nor defeated in this conflict,” he said before the meeting of the Arab League.
Foreign ministers from 13 of the 22 nations that belong to the Arab League were present at the meeting in Cairo where the decision to readmit Syria was made.
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