CAIRO — Syria has been reinstated in the Arab League after more than a decade of being excluded due to its violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, which led to the ongoing civil war.
The move is a significant step in the warming of relations between the Syrian regime and other Arab nations. The decision to readmit Syria was made during a meeting in Cairo attended by foreign ministers from 13 of the 22 Arab League members.
The US and UK have criticized the decision, with both countries stating that they will not restore relations with the Syrian government.
Syria’s foreign ministry welcomed the decision and called for greater Arab cooperation and partnership. The Arab League has stressed the need to end the Syrian civil war and the resulting refugee and drug smuggling crises.
A committee will be set up involving Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq to help Syria achieve these goals.
However, displaced Syrians have expressed shock at the decision, saying that the Arab League has whitewashed the hands of a criminal and killer.
The Arab League’s secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, stressed that the decision did not mean a resumption of relationships between Arab states and Syria, as it was up to each country to decide this individually.
More than 300,000 civilians are believed to have been killed and over 100,000 detained or disappeared during the Syrian civil war, with roughly half of the pre-war population displaced either within Syria or as refugees abroad.