Saudi Arabia to invite Syria's Al-Assad to Arab League Summit in May
The spokesperson for the Arab League secretary general, Gamal Roshdy, states that the Arab League is not informed beforehand of every decision or move between Arab countries on the bilateral level.
According to sources, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be invited by Saudi Arabia to the Arab League summit that is due to be hosted in Riyadh on May 19, which would put an end to Syria's regional isolation that it has been suffering from since 2011.
Hossam Zaki, the League of Arab States (LAS) Assistant Secretary-General, confirmed last week that "the 32nd Arab summit is expected to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 19," adding that heads of government are also expected to attend the Arab Development Summit in Mauritania and the Arab-African Summit in Saudi Arabia this year as well.
This follows as Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is scheduled to travel to the capital Damascus in the next few weeks to submit the invitation to al-Assad to the summit. Initial plans for a visit by either Prince Faisal to Syria or by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to Saudi Arabia were postponed as a result of the February 6 earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria.
Several Arab countries rushed to Syria's aid after the February 6 earthquake that killed tens of thousands in the war-torn country and neighboring Turkey. At the time, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called his Syrian counterpart in unprecedented support since El-Sisi took office in 2014.
The spokesperson for the Arab League secretary general, Gamal Roshdy, stated that the Arab League is not informed beforehand of every decision or move between Arab countries on the bilateral level.
"We are not supposed to be informed in advance about the assumed visit," he said.
After Syria was suspended from the organization in 2011, both Western and Arab nations boycotted him as a result of the protests that turned violence into war. However, this return to the organization would not only alter the regional approach towards Syria and the conflict but also Syria's involvement in regional politics.
Another potential landmark agreement
The beginning of that return started when Saudi Arabia and Syria agreed to reopen their embassies after the end of the month of Ramadan, according to sources familiar with the matter, but the Saudi foreign ministry did not confirm the agreement but confirmed talks were ongoing with the Syrian counterpart to resume consular services.
It does come with conditions - the talks include demands from Saudi Arabia not limited to close cooperation on border security and drug trafficking.
Egypt recently resumed contact with Syria after both parties agreed to fortify cooperation, marking the first official visit by a Syrian foreign minister to Egypt in more than a decade. Egypt served as a mediator alongside Saudi Arabia to facilitate Syria's return to the League.
Read more: Syrian Foreign Minister arrives in Cairo
On the other hand, nations like the US and Qatar have been demonstrating opposition to resuming ties with Syria, using al-Assad's government situation as an excuse and asking to see progress for a political solution in the country.
If Saudi Arabia and Syria establish a concrete agreement and resumption of ties, it will be the second victory against the desires of the West following the landmark agreement earlier last month between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The previous summit, the 31st, was held in Algeria in November 2022 and was attended by 16 Arab presidents.