Syria takes part in first Arab meeting since 2011

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Syria attended a meeting of Arab states on Sunday for the first time since its conflict broke out in 2011, marking another step towards the country’s political reintegration into the region.

Syria’s parliament speaker, Hammouda Sabbagh, travelled to Amman to attend the 29th Conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union.

His Jordanian counterpart, Atef al-Tarawneh, called in a speech for regional countries “to work toward a political settlement to the Syrian crisis... and for Syria to regain its place” in the Arab world.

A growing number of Arab states have voiced support for Syria’s return to the Arab League, which suspended the country’s membership in November 2011 as the death toll mounted in its war.

Divisions within the pan-Arab organization, however, have stalled the readmission of Syria, which with the support of Russia and Iran has largely regained control of its territory from rebel groups and extremists.

But the UAE reopened its Damascus embassy in December, the same month as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011.

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