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Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Nine - 11 May 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Nine - 11 May 2023 - Page 3

Syria’s Assad receives Saudi invitation to Arab summit

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received an invitation to next week’s Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, the presidency said Wednesday, the first such invitation since the country’s war began.
The body had suspended Damascus in November 2011 over its crackdown on protests, which began earlier that year and spiralled into a war that has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced millions and battered the country’s infrastructure and industry, AFP reported.
On Sunday, the Arab League welcomed back Syria’s government, securing Syria’s return to the Arab fold after years of isolation.
Assad received an invitation from Saudi King Salman “to participate in the thirty-second Arab League summit, which will be held in Jeddah on May 19”, the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
Assad said the summit “will enhance joint Arab action to achieve the aspirations of the Arab peoples,” the statement added.
The last Arab League summit Assad attended was in 2010 in Libya.
The invitation came a day after Riyadh and Damascus announced that work would resume at their respective diplomatic missions in Syria and Saudi Arabia, after more than a decade of severed relations.
The kingdom cut ties with Assad’s government in 2012 and Riyadh had long openly championed Assad’s ouster, backing opposing militants in earlier stages of the war. But a flurry of diplomatic activity has been underway since a deadly earthquake struck Syria and Turkey on February 6.
A decision in March by Saudi Arabia and Iran, a close ally of Damascus, to resume ties also shifted the political landscape.
Regional capitals have gradually been warming to Assad as he has stubbornly held onto power and clawed back lost territory with crucial support from Iran and Russia.
In 2018, the UAE re-established ties with Syria and has been leading the recent charge to reintegrate Damascus into the Arab fold.
Turkey, which supported early militant efforts to topple the Syrian government and maintains a military presence in Syria’s north, has also shown interest in mending ties with Damascus.
Analysts say Western sanctions on Syria are likely to continue to deter investment.
The United States and Britain said Tuesday they still opposed relations with Assad, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling reporters in Washington “we are not going to be in the business of normalising relations with Assad”.

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