The contact group of the Arab League underlines the need for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria over a decade after they came into the country.
The only solution to the Syrian crisis is political, the participants in the meeting of the Arab League contact group held in Cairo affirmed in their final statement at the conclusion of their meeting, which included Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, as well as the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Lebanon, along with the Secretary-General of the Arab League.
The participants emphasized in the statement the need to provide suitable conditions for the return of Syrian refugees.
The statement stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation between the Syrian government and the host countries for refugees to organize and facilitate the voluntary and safe return of refugees and end their suffering.
They also welcomed the announcement by the Syrian government and the United Nations regarding an agreement on the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The statement focused on the importance of intensifying work with the international community and the United Nations to accelerate the implementation of early recovery projects.
The participants in the meeting also emphasized the necessity of supporting counter-terrorism efforts in Syria and supporting Syria and its institutions in their legitimate efforts to maintain the country’s sovereignty and security and eliminate terrorist groups present on Syrian soil.
In the statement, they called for the withdrawal of all unauthorized foreign forces in accordance with international law and in line with the United Nations Charter, to preserve the security of Syria and the region.
The participants agreed to hold the next meeting of the Communication Committee with the Syrian Foreign Minister in Baghdad, Iraq, and to form a contact group at the expert level to follow up and prepare for the next meeting.
Mekdad arrived in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Tuesday, and met with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, who emphasized during the meeting the commitment of the Arab Contact Group to completing its missions to assist in resolving the Syrian crisis.
The Arab League welcomed Syria back into the bloc in May after it readmitted Syria as a full member, 12 years after suspending its membership following the start of the war on the country.
The Council said in a statement that it had been decided to “resume the participation of delegations of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic in the meetings of the Arab League Council and all its affiliated organizations and agencies,” explaining that the decision is effective as of May 7.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said after Syria was readmitted to the League said Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad can attend an Arab League summit later this month “if he wishes to.”
This came in response to a question in a news conference in Cairo over whether Al-Assad could participate at the summit in Saudi Arabia. “If he wishes, because Syria, starting from this evening, is a full member of the Arab League, and from tomorrow morning they have the right to occupy any seat,” Aboul Gheit said.
“When the invitation is sent by the hosting country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and if he wishes to participate, he will participate,” he added.
The United States and Britain said they still opposed relations with the Syrian government but would work with Arab states that are re-establishing relations.
Qatar also opposed Syria rejoining the Arab League and echoed on Sunday Washington’s position against normalizing ties with Damascus. But the Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, said Doha will always support anything that brings about Arab consensus, stressing that the Gulf country will not be an obstacle to that process.