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Kuwait: No ties with Syria before Arab League decision

December 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Kuwaiti Deputy FM Khaled Al-Jarallah said today that his country’s embassy in Damascus will not reopen without a greenlight from the Cairo-based Arab League.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Al-Jarallah also criticised what he described as “fabrications” by the Syrian regime, which yesterday added the names of 30 Kuwaiti nationals on to a list of wanted “terrorists”.

The minister’s name is included in the list which also features Nayef Al-Ajmi, a former Islamic affairs minister who has also been accused by the US of “supporting jihadists” in Syria.

The names also include those of two sitting MPs, several former lawmakers, and a number of Muslim preachers who led donation campaigns for the uprising against the Assad regime.

READ: Syria Muslim Brotherhood slams reopening of Arab embassies in Damascus

Local media today reported that Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry had summoned Syrian Chargé d’Affaires Ghassan Anjarini to protest the move by Damascus.

On Friday, the Bahraini Foreign Ministry announced the reopening of its embassy in Damascus, stressing its keenness to maintain relations with the Syrian regime.

The visit came just one week after Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir visited Al-Assad in Damascus – the first state visit of any Arab leader since the war broke out in 2011. In a statement, Al-Bashir affirmed the importance of Syria’s sovereignty under its “legitimate leadership”.

Last week, anonymous diplomats also told Reuters that the majority of states want Syria to return to the Arab League at the next summit in March next year, with only three or four expected to oppose this. The meeting, set to take place in Tunisia, would see the Assad government officially welcomed back into the fold.

In October, President Al-Assad told a little-known Kuwaiti newspaper that Syria had reached a “major understanding” with Arab states after years of hostility, adding that Arab and Western delegations had started to visit the country to prepare for the reopening of diplomatic missions. A week later, the Nassib border crossing between Jordan and Syria officially opened to civilians and trade for the first time since it was closed three years ago.

READ: Tunisia resumes direct flights with Syria as UAE reopens Damascus embassy