In recent years, reports of the return of Syria to the Arab League have been widely circulated ahead of each Arab League summit. But this time, after a circumscribed re-opening by Arab states towards Syria, information has leaked about the potential for Syria to participate in the upcoming Arab League summit in Algiers, even is as just an observer State.
Discussion of Syria resuming its position at the Arab League come when the summit is being held in Algeria, an Arab country that has supported Syria politically throughout years of warfare.
No actual invitation to Damascus
Syrian journalist Ziad al-Rayes, who works for the Arab Broadcasting Authority, told al-Hal Net that he has not ruled out Algeria’s invitation to Syria to attend the summit. He believes, however, that Syria would participate in the Arab League Summit purely as an observer.
By contrast, al-Rais did rule out Syria’s resumption of full membership. He also stated that there had been no unanimous decision to restore Syria’s position to date. This is because all statements from Arab countries hinged on Syria returning to the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the implementation of the Geneva resolutions.
Accordingly, a permanent proposal exists for Syria to resume its full membership, but that resumption is conditional on reaching a political solution. Damascus’s membership has been frozen based on the prevailing conditions inside the country.
The Arab League’s 31st summit, which was supposed to be held in 2020 at the Algiers International Convention Centre, was postponed (to March 2022, editor’s note) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In remarks, last November, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said: “The time has come for Syria to return to the Arab League. Syria’s membership must return, without interfering in the country’s domestic affairs.”
“Algeria has never approved the suspension of Syria’s Arab League membership,” he said.
A look at how Syria returns to the Arab League
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that Algeria, Iraq, and Jordan all want to restore Syria’s membership in the Arab League.
In an interview with Egypt’s Sada al-Balad channel at the end of last month, Aboul Gheit added that some Arab countries are discreetly re-opening relations with Syria.
Gheit added: “As Secretary-General, however, I did not personally lodge any formal or informal request to commence proceedings for restoring Syria’s membership.”
Nevertheless, a source within the Arab League’s General Secretariat revealed that Syria will resume its Arab League membership in March.
According to media reports, Algeria has held discussions with Arab countries [on the subject of restoring Syria’s membership]. These discussions resulted in a preliminary agreement to invite Syria to attend the Arab summit in exchange for steps taken within the country, subject to Qatar’s objection.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.