Russia’s foreign minister urges Syria’s return to Arab League

Russia’s foreign minister says Syria’s return to the Arab League could allow the organization to contribute to a political settlement of the crisis in the Arab country.

Sergei Lavrov, whose country is also a negotiator in peace efforts, told a press conference in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday that the Arab League “could play a more important, more effective role if the Syrian government was part of the organization.”

Syria is a “legitimate” member of the United Nations and yet “cannot take part in discussions inside the Arab League,” the Russian foreign minister said, adding, “This does not help our joint (peace) efforts.”

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who was also at the press conference, has ruled out an early return of Syria, saying any decision was up to the league’s 21 current members.

Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 after the onset of the foreign-backed Takfiri militancy. Damascus has not made any request to rejoin the Arab League.

Syria holds some members of the Arab League such as Saudi Arabia accountable for aggravating the crisis in the country and hindering efforts to resolve the conflict.

The Syrian government has repeatedly said that it is not interested in returning to the Arab League as long as the group is dominated by some regimes that conspire against Damascus and the Arab world.

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