Syria's return to Arab League is 'speculation': Qatar PM

AFP , Friday 14 Apr 2023

Talk of Syria returning to the Arab League is speculation as the reasons for its expulsion still exist, the prime minister of Qatar said Thursday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani
File Photo: Qatar s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani speaks during a press conference in Islamabad. AFP


Qatar has been an outspoken critic of Bashar Al-Assad's government, which will be at the center of talks between nine Arab countries in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

Diplomats say Syria's return to the Arab League and its potential presence at an expected summit in May will be discussed.

However, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, who will be at the talks, said nothing has been proposed.

"It is all speculation about Syria [returning] in the Arab League, and the decision is up to the Syrian people," Al-Thani said in a televised interview.

"Qatar's position is clear that there were reasons to suspend Syria's membership, and these reasons still exist," he added in comments that were welcomed by the Syrian opposition.

Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 after Assad ordered a brutal crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising.

Qatar has supported Syrian opposition groups and has been a major aid donor to Syrian refugees.

"The war has stopped, but the Syrian people are still displaced," Al-Thani said. "We do not want to impose solutions on the Syrian people, and there must be a political solution.

"We do not take any step without a political solution, and each country has its own decision and sovereign right."

Ministers and top officials from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan will gather at Saudi Arabia's request on Friday.

Syria has been diplomatically isolated since the start of its civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

Reports say some countries support Syria's return, and its Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, the first such visit since the war began.


Short link: