Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arab parliament speakers arrive in Syria

A number of Arab parliament speakers and senior legislators landed in Damascus on Sunday in a surprise visit. It comes amid attempts by certain countries to bring Syria back to the Arab League more than a decade after it was suspended from the bloc.

The high-profile lawmakers landed at Damascus International Airport on Sunday and were officially received by Speaker of the People’s Assembly of Syria Hammouda Sabbagh.

“The atmosphere at the 34th conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad was very positive. It focused on unity among all Arab countries and underlined the need for Syria’s return to the Arab diplomatic fold,” Sabbagh told reporters.

He added that the visit also stresses the fact that Syria lies at the heart of any joint Arab action to confront current challenges and crises.

Calls to reinstate Syria to the Arab League are once again renewed after it had been suspended from the League following the start of the country’s foreign-sponsored conflict in 2011.

For his part, Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives Hanafy el-Gebaly stated, “We are here in Damascus to show our support for the brotherly nation of Syria, and demonstrate our solidarity with it in the aftermath of the devastating [February 6] earthquake.”

“We are the same soul. We will stand by Syrians during the current difficult situation,” Gebaly noted.

On Saturday, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives Mohammed al-Halbousi called upon “all Arab countries, both at parliamentary and state levels, to adopt a final decision on Syria’s return to the Arab diplomatic fold.”

He urged Arab states to help worn-torn Syria perform its Arab, regional, and international role effectively, work diligently for the country’s stability and reconstruction of its badly damaged infrastructure, and assist Syrian refugees to return to their homeland.

“Syria is facing a difficult situation in the aftermath of the February 6, devastating earthquake, which claimed thousands of lives and caused severe damage to public and private properties. We should all assume our responsibilities and help Syria overcome the repercussions of the crisis,” Halbousi said.

Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi also described it as necessary for Syria to return to the Arab League.

“Syria represents the history, glory, and civilization of the Arab world. Its sufferings have been exacerbated after the terrible earthquake disaster. This requires us to send more humanitarian aid to noble Syrians. We want Syria to act as an active and effective member of the Arab League in its decision-making,” Safadi continued.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing an alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Syria was one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945. In recent months, an increasing number of countries and political parties have called for the reversal of its suspension from the Arab League.

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