Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Saudi Arabia, Syria’s top diplomats welcome thaw in ties

Saudi Arabia and Syria’s foreign ministers welcomed a thaw in bilateral ties, including steps to resume consular services and flights, and agreed to cooperate to fight drug trafficking and facilitate Syria’s return to the Arab fold. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad landed in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on Wednesday in the first visit by a senior Syrian diplomat to the kingdom in more than a decade, a major sign that Syria’s regional isolation is nearing an end. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/isolated-syrias-fm-arrives-saudi-arabia-landmark-visit-2023-04-12/) Gulf heavyweight Saudi Arabia cut ties with Damascus amid Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in 2011, and backed rebel groups that fought to remove Assad from power. Syria was also suspended from the Arab League. The resumption of Saudi-Syrian ties marks the most significant development in moves by Arab states to normalize links with Assad. It comes weeks after Mekdad met with the top diplomats of Egypt and Jordan, also for the first time in over a decade.

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