FMs meet in Jeddah ahead of Friday’s summit as Syria welcomed back into Arab League

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
4 min read

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday officially took over the rotating presidency of the Arab League summit from Algeria as Syria’s attendance at the meeting was welcomed after years of isolation.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf handed over the presidency to the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Jeddah.



For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The foreign ministers convened in Jeddah ahead of the Arab League summit to discuss the agenda and draft resolutions.

The summit comes at a time of various political developments including the ongoing Sudan crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Syria’s readmission to the body, all of which were at the top of Wednesday’s agenda.

This year’s summit differs from previous years as it is the first to be attended by Syria since the country’s membership was suspended following a crackdown on protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule in 2011.



Syria was represented at Wednesday’s meeting by a high-level delegation headed by the country’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, who confirmed that Assad will attend Friday’s summit.

Syria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad attends the Arab Foreign Ministers Preparatory Meeting ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit in Jeddah on May 17, 2023. (AFP)
Syria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad attends the Arab Foreign Ministers Preparatory Meeting ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit in Jeddah on May 17, 2023. (AFP)



“Saudi Arabia has exerted tremendous effort to [plan for the meeting] and embrace all Arab countries. We are very grateful that all countries are now present in this summit, and this is an achievement for the role that [the Kingdom] plays,” Mekdad told Saudi Arabia’s al-Ekhbariya state television.

Addressing the attendees, Prince Faisal welcomed Syria’s delegation as did Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

In his speech, Prince Faisal underscored the need for unity among Arab countries in order to overcome mutual challenges and difficulties.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan attends the Arab Foreign Ministers Preparatory Meeting ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit in Jeddah on May 17, 2023. (AFP)
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan attends the Arab Foreign Ministers Preparatory Meeting ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit in Jeddah on May 17, 2023. (AFP)



“More effort should be exerted to strengthen joint Arab work to face and find solutions to these challenges so that our region can be safe and stable,” Prince Faisal said.

He also called on countries to put aside their differences while rejecting external interferences in countries’ affairs.

Prince Faisal added that the region has plenty of human potential and natural resources that should prompt Arab countries to coordinate among each other, noting that “new mechanisms must be devised… with people’s interests in sight.”

Speaking at the opening session, the Algerian foreign minister also welcomed Syria back into the Arab League. Attaf said that the summit is taking place amid “special regional” circumstances that require Arab countries to join the ranks in order to overcome hurdles.

“We seek at the Arab summit to unite [positions] to face the challenges we are witnessing,” Attaf said.

He warned that global transformations will change the balance of power, and this requires Arab countries to come together to move forward as these changes unfold.

For his part, Aboul Gheit thanked Saudi Arabia for its preparations for the summit and said that the scene in the region has been a combination of good developments coupled with dangerous challenges including the recent conflict in Sudan.

The ministerial meeting, which then reverted to a closed session, is expected to tackle draft resolutions that will be discussed during the summit, Al Arabiya reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, several ministerial committees met and discussed matters such as the Iranian and Turkish interferences in Arab internal affairs, according to Al Arabiya.

The foreign ministers are meeting as part of preparatory sessions that have been held throughout the week ahead of Friday’s summit.

Read more:

Syria’s delegation arrives in Jeddah for Arab League preparatory meetings

Syria calls for investments in war-torn country amid its return to the Arab League

Syria’s Assad receives invitation from UAE to attend COP28

Advertisement
Top Content Trending