Dialogue with Damascus necessary: Saudi FM

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Feb 2023

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2023 that dialogue with Damascus was necessary "at some point," Reuters reported.

Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
File photo: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Photo courtesy of Saudi Press Agency


"You will see not just among the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) but in the Arab world there is a consensus growing that the status quo is not workable," he said.

The minister's remarks signal a shift in Arab attitudes toward Bashar al-Assad's government which during the early years of Syria's 12-year civil war was made a pariah by the international community.

The minister also stressed on the need to address the issue of Syrian refugees in neighboring states, exacerbated by the recent earthquakes in southern Turkey, adding that an approach is "bg formulated," even if a political solution has yet to be reached in Syria, Reuters reported.

"So that's going to have to go through a dialogue with the government in Damascus at some point in a way that achieves at least the most important of the objectives especially as regards the humanitarian angle, the return of refugees, etc," he said.

Asked about reports that he would visit Damascus following visits by his Emirati and Jordanian counterparts after the earthquake, Prince Faisal said he would not comment on rumors, according to Reuters.

Sputnik news agency reported on Thursday that arrangements are underway for Saudi FM's visit to Damascus within days. 

A Saudi aid plane landed in Syria’s quake-stricken Aleppo on Tuesday, Syrian state media says, in first reported arrival from the Kingdom to government-held areas.

Although some Arab states remain wary, Assad has been receiving strong support from the United Arab Emirates among other Arab states that normalized ties with him in recent years. In an unprecedented move, president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had a phone call with the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to express Egypt’s solidarity with Syria after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks struck Syria and and neighbouring Turkey.



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