Syria, Tunisia reestablish diplomatic relations

AP , Tuesday 18 Apr 2023

Syria’s chief diplomat is on a three-day official visit to Tunisia meant to restore diplomatic relations that have been cut off between the countries since 2012 following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

Syria - Tunisia relations
A handout picture provided by the Tunisian Foreign Ministry shows Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar (R) receiving his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad at Tunis Carthage International Airport on April 17, 2023. AFP


Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad had a meeting with Tunisian counterpart Nabil Ammar shortly after his arrival on Monday evening. No details were disclosed about the talks and Mekdad’s schedule for Tuesday or Wednesday.

The visit is meant to help restore bilateral relations, the Tunisian Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Tunisian President Kais Saied ordered the appointment of an ambassador to the Syrian capital, Damascus. It followed the decision of the Syrian government to reopen its embassy in Tunis and appoint an ambassador.

In February, Saied had announced his decision to raise the level of Tunisian diplomatic representation in Damascus, while stressing that the crisis facing Assad's government was “an internal matter that concerns only the Syrian people." The move was made at the same time Tunisia was sending urgent humanitarian aid to Syria following the earthquake that killed tens of thousands in the country and neighboring Turkey.

Mekdad's visit to Tunisia is the second leg of a trip that began in Algeria, one of the few Arab countries that maintained diplomatic relations during Syria's civil war.

Last week, Mekdad also traveled to Saudi Arabia. Both countries announced they were moving toward reopening embassies and resuming flights for the first time in more than a decade.

Syria was widely shunned by Arab governments over Assad’s crackdown on protesters in 2011 at the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. The breakdown in relations culminated in Syria being ousted from the Arab League.

However, in recent years, as Assad consolidated control over most of the country, Syria’s neighbors have begun to take steps toward rapprochement.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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