The details of the “talks” between the Saudi Arabian government and the Syrian regime have been revealed by the Okaz newspaper. These talks were officially confirmed by Riyadh in recent days, through a diplomatic source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On Monday, the newspaper reported that Ali Mamlouk, the head of national security in Syria, and Hossam Luqa, the director of general intelligence, visited Riyadh last week. During their visit, they held talks with Saudi officials regarding the gradual restoration of relations between the two countries.
Will Assad Stop Drug Trafficking to Saudi Arabia and the UAE?
The report continued, stating that these talks came after Damascus committed to a package of internal reforms and improving its relationship with the Syrian opposition. Additionally, the Syrian government pledged not to export Captagon to Jordan and the Gulf countries.
As per the newspaper, the Syrian regime has taken action on the ground to pursue individuals involved in the manufacturing and export of Captagon to Jordan. The authorities have reportedly thwarted several such operations this week as a goodwill gesture aimed at improving relations with Riyadh.
Last week, a source within the Saudi Foreign Ministry confirmed that talks were being held between Riyadh and the Syrian regime with the aim of resuming consular services. This comes after a 12-year diplomatic break between the two countries.
The talks were initially revealed by Reuters, which reported that Major General Hossam Luqa, the intelligence chief of the Syrian regime, visited Saudi Arabia and spent several days there meeting with officials to kick-start the negotiations.
Okaz reported that it had learned from private sources that restoration work has begun on the Saudi consulate in Damascus, which is located in Mezze Oriental Villas.
On Sunday, Hossam Zaki, the Assistant Secretary-General overseeing the affairs of the Council of the League of Arab States, announced that the 32nd session of the Arab Summit is expected to take place on May 19th in Saudi Arabia.
According to the official website of the Arab League, the date for the 32nd session of the Arab Summit was set after consultations between the Secretary-General of the League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and the Saudi government, which has welcomed the event on the scheduled date.
Preparatory meetings at the senior officials and ministerial levels are planned ahead of the five-day summit.
It remains unclear what path Riyadh will take with regard to the Syrian regime, and whether the talks will lead to full or partial normalization of relations.
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.