Saudi and Syrian foreign ministers hold talks ahead of Arab League summit in Jeddah
Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, met his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, on Wednesday on the sidelines of a ministerial preparatory meeting ahead of the 32nd Arab League Summit, which will take place in Jeddah on Friday.
They discussed the latest developments in Syria and the wider region and exchanged views on other issues of common interest, sources said. They also talked about the agenda for the summit, during which one of the key topics will be Syria’s readmission into the Arab League.
During the ministerial meeting itself, Prince Faisal gave a speech in which he welcomed Syria’s participation and called for Arab unity in efforts to confront major global challenges.
Syrian President Bashar Assad was officially invited on May 11 by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to participate in the Arab League summit.
Mekdad confirmed during the preparatory meeting that President Bashar Assad will attend the summit. It will be the first time Syria has participated in such a gathering since its membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011.
Syria’s invitation followed weeks of ministerial meetings in Jordan and Egypt. On May 1, Prince Faisal attended a gathering of foreign ministers from the region in Amman that focused on Syria. Other participants included the prince’s counterparts from Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt.
At the heart of their discussions were efforts to find a political solution to the long-running crisis in Syria that would prevent further repercussions while preserving Syria’s unity, security and stability, and maintaining its Arab identity.
The ministers also stressed the importance of resolving the humanitarian crisis in the country and creating an environment that ensures aid can reach the people that need it in all regions.
On May 7, the Arab League hosted a ministerial meeting in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in the Syrian crisis, during which ministers exchanged views on the efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict.