Baghdad government support Syria’s return to Arab League: Iraqi foreign minister

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim says the Baghdad government supports the restoration of Syria's membership in the Arab League, amid promising signs that the incumbent Damascus government led by President Bashar al-Assad is being admitted back into the Arab world after nearly eight years of foreign-sponsored militancy.
“We discussed solutions to eliminate terrorism in Syria and support the Syrian government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Hakim said on Monday at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif, who is on an official visit to Baghdad.
“We also discussed supporting Iraq's efforts to restore Syria's (membership) to the Arab League,” he added.
On January 8, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the incumbent Damascus government needs to implement a number of measures toward the political settlement of the ongoing Syrian crisis in order for the conflict-plagued country to reinstate its membership in the Arab League.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Cairo, Shoukry said such measures are required "in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254," which endorsed a road map for a peace process in Syria, and set out the outlines of a nationwide ceasefire.
“There's a need to get out of the current crisis in Syria through the political framework sponsored by the UN envoy in Geneva,” the top Egyptian diplomat pointed out.
The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as "illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
Qatar sees no need to re-open diplomatic mission in Syria
Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani says he sees no need to re-open his country's embassy in the capital Damascus.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani (Photo by Anadolu news agency)
Thani also said that Doha still objects to Syria’s return to Arab League.
“Since day one, Qatar had reasons for which it supported suspending [Arab League] membership and those reasons are still there, so we do not see any encouraging factor,” he said at a news conference on Monday.
On December 28, 2018, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that work at the kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic is going on whilst the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain is carrying out its duties and flights connecting the two countries are operational without interruption.”

The statement also affirmed “the Kingdom’s keenness on the continuity of its relations with the Syrian Arab Republic and stresses the significance of enhancing and activating the Arab role in order to maintain Syria's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and avert the hazards of regional interference in its internal affairs and progress.”
It came a day after the United Arab Emirates officially reopened its embassy in Damascus.
The Emirati Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the reopening of its embassy “reaffirms the keenness of the United Arab Emirates to restore relations between the two friendly countries to their normal course.”
The United Arab Emirates embassy is pictured in the Syrian capital Damascus on December 27, 2018 after its reopening, the latest sign of efforts to bring the Syrian government back into the Arab fold. (Photo by AFP)
The move “will strengthen and activate the Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and to prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian Arab affairs,” the ministry pointed out.
On December 16, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab League leader to visit Damascus.
Syria's official news agency SANA said Bashir was greeted by his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, before they both headed to the presidential palace.
The two leaders discussed bilateral ties and the "situations and crises faced by many Arab countries," the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) receives his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir upon arrival at Damascus International Airport, Syria, on December 16, 2018. (Photo by SANA)
SANA quoted the Sudanese leader as saying during the meeting that he hoped Syria will recover its important role in the region as soon as possible.
He also affirmed Khartoum’s readiness to provide all it can to support Syria's territorial integrity.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.



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