Iraqi deputy FM calls on Arab League to end suspension of Syria's membership
A senior Iraqi official has renewed his country's call on the Arab League to end its suspension of the Syrian government’s membership in the 22-member pan-Arab body.
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“Iraq has renewed its request concerning the restoration of Syria's membership in the Arab League as the country has great and fundamental importance for collective Arab measures,” Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency quoted deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Berwari as saying on the sidelines of the 155th regular session of the Council of the Arab League at the foreign ministerial level.
The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria has denounced the move as "illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”
Back on February 22, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein also called for Syria's membership to the Arab League to be restored, saying Damascus' return to its seat within the Arab League would help achieve the principle of integration in Arab work and coordination.
He made the remarks during a meeting with the secretary general of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, Nayef bin Falah al-Hajraf, and his accompanying delegation in Baghdad at the time.
Also speaking at the emergency ministerial meeting of the Arab League in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on February 8, the Iraqi foreign minister had urged the regional organization to restore Syria’s membership.
Former Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari also told a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on March 7, 2017 that Syria’s absence from the organization could not be tolerated anymore, stressing that Arabs should reach a consensus on resolving the Syria crisis.
The Arab League does not only represent Arab governments, but also Arab nations and thus should bring an end to the Syria conflict, Ja’afari added.
Any weakening of an Arab country is tantamount to the weakening of all Arabs, he said, emphasizing that if Arabs cannot unite on Syria, they can at least agree on settling the crisis there.
Syria was one of the six founding members of the Arab League in 1945.