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Syrian FM, Saudi counterpart meet ahead of Arab summit in Jeddah

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, have met on the sidelines of preparatory meetings for the Arab League summit in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, discussing the reopening of their countries’ embassies among other issues.

The two top diplomats met and conversed on Wednesday, following the third consecutive day of the Arab Economic and Social Council meetings held ahead of the Arab summit in Jeddah on May 19.

“The leaders of Syria and Saudi Arabia have decided to move forward and there’s no step backwards,” Mekdad was quoted as saying by Syria’s official news agency SANA.

“We have discussed all issues, among which the preparations for the Arab summit as we are satisfied with all the work achieved so far on this matter,” he added.

The Syrian foreign minister stressed that upon the directives of the two countries’ leadership, the bilateral relations will be promoted to a level that serves the interests of Riyadh and Damascus.

“We also discussed the issue of opening the two embassies in both countries, and Syria and Saudi Arabia will provide all the necessary facilities for the opening of the two embassies,” Mekdad said.

Arab League: Syria’s presence in meetings ahead of Jeddah summit ‘a new phase’ in Arab world

The meetings of the Arab Economic and Social Council are discussing ways to enhance joint Arab action to achieve sustainable development, and address other social and economic issues of concern to Arab countries.

Arab government representatives in Cairo voted on May 7 to return Syria to the Arab League after a 12-year suspension, with all 13 of the 22 member states attending the session endorsing the decision.

The Arab League had suspended the membership of Syria, one of its founding members, in November 2011, at the start of foreign-backed militancy in the country. Syria denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Riyadh and Damascus agreed in March to resume diplomatic relations and re-open embassies after more than a decade, prompting other Arab countries to race for the re-establishment of ties with Syria.

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