The move came after the Syrian foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the first since the kingdom cut diplomatic relations with Syria in 2012.
Syria and Saudi Arabia are taking steps to resume consular services and trips between the two countries for the first time in more than a decade.
The joint statement released on Thursday followed a visit by Syria’s top diplomat to Saudi Arabia, the first since the kingdom cut diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012.
Riyadh avoided Damascus amid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in 2011, and subsequently backed the rebel groups that fought to oust him from power.
The breakdown in relations culminated in the expulsion of Syria from the Arab League.
However, in recent years, as Assad’s control over most of the country has solidified, Syria’s neighbors have begun to take steps to bring the country back into the Arab fold and normalize relations with its leader.
The pace of initiatives has accelerated since the massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, and the restoration of Chinese-brokered relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which supported the conflicting parties in the Syrian conflict.
Syrian Foreign Minister visits Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad arrived in Jeddah, in a key indication that Syria’s regional isolation is about to end.
His visit comes at the invitation of Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. It also came weeks after Mekdad met with senior diplomats from Egypt and Jordan, for the first time in more than 10 years.
The two sides agreed in a joint statement at the end of Wednesday’s visit on the need for “a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian crisis that achieves national reconciliation and contributes to Syria’s return to its Arab forums.”
Saudi Arabia is hosting the next Arab Summit in May, where Syria’s membership is widely expected to be on the table.
But some members, especially Qatar, opposed Damascus returning to the organization.
The Qatari Prime Minister said on Thursday that talk of Syria’s return to the Arab League is speculation because the reasons for its expulsion still exist.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani said in a television interview that the original basis for suspending Syria’s membership in the Arab League in 2011 is still valid. He added that Qatar adheres to its position on normalization with Syria unless there is a political solution to the crisis.
“The war has stopped, but the Syrian people are still displaced,” the Qatari prime minister said. We do not want to impose solutions on the Syrian people, and there must be a political solution. We do not take any step without a political solution, and each country has its own decision and sovereign right.
Ministers and senior officials from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – as well as Egypt, Iraq and Jordan are meeting at Saudi Arabia’s request on Friday.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”