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Lebanon to invite Syria's Al-Assad to Arab League meeting

January 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm

General view of Arab League foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 9 December 2017 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has contacted several Arab countries to discuss inviting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to attend the Arab League meeting to be held in Beirut.

Reporting informed sources, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Thursday that Bassil made the phone calls with Arab officials in cooperation with Egypt, noting that the final decision on Syria’s participation has not yet been taken.

According to the newspaper, Lebanon is waiting for Saudi agreement on the participation of Al-Assad. So far the issue has been discussed with Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia.

A senior source added that Damascus had not yet been informed that a Lebanese delegation intends to hand over the invitation. However, sources allegedly said that Bassil had visited Damascus, though the Lebanese MP Salim Oun denied these reported.

Despite Jordan’s decision not to participate and the delay in receiving the Saudi reply, Lebanon reiterated that the Arab League meeting will go ahead, after news reports had expected the meeting to be put off.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring and subsequent civil war, though recently several Arab states have started to prepare for reopening their embassies in Damascus.

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