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Syria – Syrian foreign minister visits Saudi Arabia for first time in 12 years

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Syria – Syrian foreign minister visits Saudi Arabia for first time in 12 years

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (left) meets his Saudi Arabian counterpart Faisal bin Farhan in Jeddah. Image: AFP

For the first time since the beginning of the civil war in Syria twelve years ago, a Syrian foreign minister has visited Saudi Arabia. Faisal Mekdad landed in Jeddah to hold talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan on ‘a political solution to the Syrian crisis’.

For the first time since the beginning of the civil war in Syria twelve years ago, a Syrian foreign minister has visited Saudi Arabia. Faisal Mekdad landed in Jeddah on Wednesday to speak with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign ministry said. Accordingly, it was about “the necessary steps to achieve a complete political solution to the Syrian crisis”.

The goal is to achieve a “national reconciliation” that will help Damascus regain its place in the Arab world. Both ministers also confirmed that steps would be taken to resume consular services. In addition, it was about the resumption of air traffic between the two countries.

A meeting of representatives from nine Arab countries begins in Jeddah on Friday to discuss whether Syria will be allowed to attend an Arab League summit next month. The Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad, who has been largely isolated since the beginning of the civil war, has celebrated a diplomatic comeback in the region in recent months. This year he has already visited the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement of the diplomatic visit from Syria came just hours after Iran announced the arrival of a delegation from Tehran in Riyadh. It is therefore intended to prepare the reopening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah.

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The visits show that the Gulf states want to reestablish diplomatic ties after years of bitter division. An Arab diplomat stressed the importance of the meetings to the AFP news agency: “Iranians and Syrians are in Saudi Arabia on the same day. It’s totally crazy and was unthinkable a few months ago.”

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