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Saudi Arabia FM visits Syria in first time since 2011, amid growing rapprochement with Assad

A week after his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, visited the Kingdom, Bin Farhan travelled to Syria.

April 18, 2023 at 4:18 pm

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister has arrived in Syria’s capital today, in the first such official visit to the country since the outbreak of the ongoing conflict in 2011.

Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, arrived in the Syrian capital, Damascus, this afternoon, where he was welcomed at the airport by Syria’s Minister of Presidency Affairs, Mansour Azzam. He then reportedly met with Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, but no details of their meeting have yet been revealed.

According to a statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, the visit represents “the Kingdom’s keenness and interest to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that ends all its repercussions and preserves Syria’s unity, security, stability and its Arab identity, and restores it to its Arab surroundings, in a way that achieves the good of its brotherly people.”

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Bin Farhan’s visit to Syria comes a week after his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, visited the Kingdom – also the first such trip since 2011 – in which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations and consular services.

Twelve years after the Syrian regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protests and the subsequent outbreak of the ongoing civil war, the prospect of allowing Syria to return to the Arab League and fold was discussed in the Organisation’s summit and gathering of Arab foreign ministers in Jeddah last week.

Such a return was not accepted, however, as there remained pushback against the decision from some member states such as Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco and Yemen. Subsequently, the foreign ministers simply agreed that a political solution is the only way to resolve Syria’s crisis.

READ: Morocco not invited to Jeddah Summit to discuss Syria’s return to Arab League