• Ties with Damascus being normalised, as the bloc hopes for an ‘Arab-led political path’ to solve the Syrian crisis.

CAIRO (Agencies): Foreign ministers from Arab League member states have agreed to reinstate Syria’s membership after its suspension more than 10 years ago, according to Iraqi state media.
The ministers voted for Syria’s return into the fold at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo on Sunday.
The decision was made in advance of the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia on May 19 and amid a flurry of regional normalisation of ties with Damascus in recent weeks.
Syria’s Arab League membership was revoked after President Bashar al-Assad ordered a crackdown on protesters in March 2011 that spiralled the country into a civil war that has since killed nearly half a million people and displaced another 23 million.
As al-Assad solidified his control of Syrian territory, Arab states have been looking to normalise ties, working towards an “Arab-led political path” in solving the crisis, Jordan’s top diplomat said, according to The Associated Press news agency.
The vote took place following a meeting of top regional diplomats from Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria in Jordan last week, where they dubbed the process of bringing Damascus back into the Arab fold the “Jordanian Initiative”.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday al-Assad can attend the Arab League summit later this month “if he wishes to”.
Responding to a question over whether al-Assad could participate at the summit in Saudi Arabia, Aboul Gheit told a news conference in Cairo: “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.”
“When the invitation is sent by the hosting country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and if he wishes to participate, he will participate,” he said.
Syria called on Sunday for Arab states to show “mutual respect”, after the Arab League voted to readmit it.

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