Arab League forms ministerial contact committee to address Syrian crisis

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 May 2023

The Arab League agreed on Sunday to form a ministerial contact and follow-up committee that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Arab League’s secretary-general to seek a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis.

 Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry (centre) Egypt s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly (centre) chairing the em
From left, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul-Gheit, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Ambassador Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary-General of Arab League preside over an emergency meeting for the Arab foreign ministers, 7 May 2023. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Arab League's Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit said that Arab states have agreed on a gradual approach to resolving the Syrian crisis, noting that the newly-formed committee will follow up on the steps taken in that direction and liaise with the Syrian government and the international community in this regard.

Abul-Gheit's remarks followed an emergency meeting at the Arab League of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the developments in Syria.

During the meeting, the Arab League welcomed back Syria's government after suspending Syria’s membership in November 2011 over the government’s failure to end the bloodshed caused by crackdowns on protests in the country.

The decision to accept Syria back into the Arab League means that Arab states will contact Damascus for the first time in years to discuss the pressing Syrian issue, Abul-Gheit stressed.

He hailed the Arab League's decision as “realistic as it understands that the settlement of this issue cannot be achieved any time soon and that solving this crisis will take time”.

The secretary-general added that the decision does not reflect a restoration of normal relations between Syria and the Arab states, since establishing relations remains the sovereign decision of individual countries.  

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed at the meeting that all the parties concerned with the situation in Syria must fulfil their obligations so that the Syrian people can realize their aspirations for a united, independent and stable Syria.  

Shoukry highlighted that there was no military solution to the Syrian crisis.

"Egypt has warned of the consequences of attempting to solve the crisis in Syria through military means. However, these warnings have not been heeded,” he stated.

The Egyptian foreign minister stressed that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved through political means without any external intervention in the affairs of a sovereign Syria.  

"Our Syrian brothers and sisters have suffered year after year, and their suffering has worsened due to the failure to reach a political settlement to the crisis, the multiple external interventions in it, and the international community's preoccupation with other issues,” Shoukry said.

He added that this has resulted in complete stagnation that lasted for years.

The Arab League’s meeting comes a week after the foreign ministers of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq met in the Jordanian capital, Amman, to discuss Syria’s long-running conflict.

Last month, Egypt and eight Arab countries took part in a consultative meeting in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to discuss ending the Syrian crisis and Syria's return to the Arab League.

“We look forward to taking practical steps to implement the outcomes of the Amman meeting and to receive international support for them,” Shoukry said.


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