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Syria and Saudi Arabia reopen embassies

The move comes just days after Damascus was reinstated to the Arab League, following a decade-long suspension

Syria and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations nearly 10 years after cutting ties, both countries announced, marking yet another rapprochement between former foes after Riyadh and Tehran also restored diplomacy under a deal brokered by Beijing.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry confirmed the decision in a statement on Tuesday, saying the renewed diplomacy would strengthen “bilateral relations between Arab countries to serve joint Arab action.”

“Based on the deep bonds and common affiliation of the peoples of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the embodiment of the aspirations of the peoples of the two countries …The Syrian Arab Republic decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ministry said in a statement.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on May 7, 2023.
Arab League reinstates Syria

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a similar notice on Tuesday, stressing “the brotherhood ties that unite the peoples of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Arab Republic.” While neither country specified when they would reopen their respective embassies, the kingdom added that the move would “enhance security and stability in the region.”

Riyadh initially broke relations with Damascus in 2012, not long after the Syrian war kicked off, during which Saudi Arabia supplied millions of dollars in weapons and gear to jihadist rebel factions seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Saudi officials were among the first to condemn Assad’s handling of anti-government protests at the time, later shuttering the Saudi embassy in Syria and expelling the Syrian ambassador.

However, following a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran mediated by China in March, the region has seen renewed efforts to mend ties between former adversaries, with the United Arab Emirates also voicing willingness to improve relations with Syria. Tehran and Riyadh have also taken steps to end the conflict in Yemen, which has raged on since 2015 and has had a devastating impact on Yemeni civilians.

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READ MORE: The US grip on the Middle East slips, and peace breaks out

On Sunday, the 22-member Arab League agreed to lift Syria’s 12-year suspension from the organization, yet another step toward reconciliation. That decision followed a high-level meeting in Amman between Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, where all parties agreed to improve cooperation on combating terrorism and pledged to “support Syria and its institutions to establish control over all of its territory and impose the rule of law.”

May 10, 2023 at 07:16AM
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