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Arab Foreign Ministers Convene in Jordan to Deliberate On Integration with Syria

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On Monday, Jordan will host a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the years-long Syrian civil war and end the country’s diplomatic isolation.

Bashar al-Assad has been living in political isolation since the outbreak of conflict in his country in 2011.

However, recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity after Saudi Arabia and Iran – a close ally of Damascus – resumed diplomatic ties in March, shifting regional relations.

Monday’s meeting in Amman will bring together the foreign ministers of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the talks would discuss “these countries’ contacts with the Syrian government to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.”

He described the gathering as “a continuation of the consultative meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia” in mid-April.

That meeting witnessed a meeting of nine Arab countries in Jeddah to discuss ending the long period that Syria lived in the diplomatic wilderness and the possibility of its return to the membership of the Arab League, which includes 22 countries, after the suspension of Damascus’ membership in 2011.

A Saudi Foreign Ministry statement said that the diplomats stressed “the importance of an Arab leadership role in efforts to end the crisis” in Syria.

The United Arab Emirates restored relations with Damascus in late 2018. April also saw Syria and Tunisia announce the reopening of diplomatic missions in their capitals.

However, regional opponents of the reincorporation of Damascus remain. Qatar, which has supported Syrian opposition groups, described the idea of ​​Syria’s return to the Arab League as mere “speculation”.

The 12-year war in Syria has claimed nearly half a million lives and nearly half of its population is now refugees or internally displaced.

Large swaths of land remain outside government control.

Assad hopes that a full normalization of relations with the wealthy Gulf states will help fund the reconstruction of war-damaged infrastructure.

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