Aboul Gheit: Syria’s Return to the Arab League is a Sensitive Political Issue

The secretary-general of the Arab League says that he favours Syria's return, but that a final decision will still require negotiations, Athr Press reports.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, spoke on Tuesday in a television interview on Al-Jadeed TV about several details related to the Syrian war and the return of Damascus to its seat in the Arab League. He emphasized that the return is inevitable, but it is not necessary for it to happen at the next summit, which is supposed to be held in Riyadh.

Aboul Gheit listed memoirs related to Syria, stressing that preparations for the Syrian war had been underway since 2005. He recounted that, in February 2005, during his visit to Washington as Egypt’s foreign minister, he met with several American leaders, including then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. He noted that during the meeting, he found the attack on Syria to be very sharp. Upon his return to Egypt, he asked President Mubarak’s permission to travel to Syria, where he spoke with Syrian officials and warned them to be aware of the clear intentions against them.

Regarding Syria’s return to its seat in the Arab League, Aboul Gheit stressed that he fundamentally disagreed with the freezing of Syria’s membership. When this decision was taken, he was not in his position as Secretary-General of the League. He believes that the process of freezing Syrian membership should not have been rushed, and more opportunities for negotiations should have been given.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League noted that the situation has now changed, and it is clear that Syria’s return to the Arab League is inevitable. However, he questioned whether it would happen at the upcoming summit, explaining that the Council of Ministers of the League could instead invite the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs to attend meetings. According to the legal path, an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States must be held at the request of a state with the support of an additional state. The demand for Syria’s return would be put forward, and a discussion would take place. At the end of the meeting, either a vote takes place or a broad consensus is reached.

When asked about the possibility of Syria attending the next summit meeting in Riyadh, the Secretary-General explained that the procedures for the return of Damascus could take place within a few days. However, the weight of the countries supporting and opposing it must be taken into account, and it is a sensitive political game that must be played with great wisdom. If two or three countries that serve as pillars on the position of rejection meet, Syria’s return will be difficult. However, if these countries agree, it will be easy.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General stated that President Bashar al-Assad had won the battle since it was decided militarily seven years ago when the opposition failed to enter Damascus.

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.

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