Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister arrives in Syria, meets with Assad

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after arriving in Syria’s Damascus Tuesday afternoon, Syrian state media reported.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Prince Faisal’s visit falls within the framework of “the Kingdom’s keenness and interest to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that ends all its repercussions and preserves Syria’s unity, security, stability, and its Arab identity, and restores it to its Arab surroundings, in a way that achieves the good of its brotherly people.”

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The statement added that Prince Faisal was welcomed at the airport by Minister of Presidency Affairs Mansour Azzam.

The visit comes days after Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad visited the Kingdom, on the first such trip since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq held a summit in Jeddah to discuss Syria’s possible return to the Arab fold following the Syrian official’s visit.

Saudi Arabia and Syria have agreed to resume diplomatic ties, where the flurry of political activity comes ahead of Arab League’s next summit in Riyadh on May 19.

Following the security forces’ crackdown on demonstrators in 2011, Syria's membership in the Arab League was suspended and several Gulf Arab states began backing opposition groups fighting to oust Assad from power.

Assad, with the help of his main allies Iran and Russia, later regained control over much of Syria, and Saudi Arabia has said in recent months that isolating him was not working.

The meeting discussed steps needed for a political solution to Syria’s conflict that would preserve its Arab identity and return it to “its Arab surroundings,” Saudi state media said.

Assad said the Kingdom’s “open and realistic policies” benefited the region, Syria’s state news agency reported.

With Reuters

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