Syria and Tunisia are planning to restore diplomatic ties and reopen their respective embassies and appoint envoys, the Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported yesterday. The announcement follows a telephone conversation between the top diplomats of both countries.
Syria’s Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad discussed the plans with his Tunisian counterpart, Nabil Ammar. They intend to enhance the representation of the North African country’s embassy in Damascus and to appoint an envoy to Syria. Mikdad said that Syria will be looking to do the same in Tunis in the coming days.
Tunisian President Kais Saied ordered the foreign ministry on Monday to initiate procedures for appointing an ambassador in Damascus. An official statement noted the “necessity of adhering to the principles of Tunisia’s foreign policy,” and said that the country’s positions abroad “stem from the will of its people.”
Tunisia, like most Arab states, severed ties with the Syrian government nearly a decade ago in protest against President Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011. However, there are growing calls for Syria to be readmitted to the Arab League, following normalisation with Bahrain, the UAE and ongoing talks with Saudi Arabia, which is expected to resume formal relations following its rapprochement with Iran in February. Algeria was one of the few Arab states to have maintained ties with Syria throughout the country’s crisis, while Qatar has remained opposed to normalisation with Damascus.
Last week, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari was quoted as saying, “Doha’s position is clear and consistent and is not affected by the interactions taking place, unless there is a development internally in Syria.” He added that, “There is no Arab consensus on normalisation with the regime at the present time.”