Russia hails Syria’s return to Arab League as Arab world ‘independent global policy’

Russia hailed the decision to reinstate its ally Syria’s membership to the Arab League as an action that showed Arab countries’ intent on conducting their own “independent policy on the global stage”, in an indirect jab at the US which strongly opposed any normalization with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“We think that the decision of the Council of Arab League Foreign Ministers has demonstrated the Arab countries’ aspiration to bolster coordination of actions in the interests of settling pertinent regional and international issues and confirmed their intent to continue conducting their independent policy on the global stage based on their core interests in the future,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, representative of Arab governments voted in Cairo to return Syria to the Arab League. This came days after top diplomats from Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt held talks in Amman centering around reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The vote also comes days ahead of the upcoming Arab League Summit to be hosted by Saudi Arabia on May 19.

Zakharova added: “Moscow welcomes this long-awaited step which became a logical result of the process of returning Syria to the ‘Arab family’ which is gaining momentum. We proceed from the premise that reinstating Syria’s participation in the operations of the Arab League… will facilitate a healthier atmosphere in the Middle Eastern region and the swiftest overcoming of the consequences of the Syrian crisis.”

The spokeswoman also said that Moscow expected Arab countries to increase their support to Syria in resolving “the issues of its post-conflict recovery which is hindered by illegitimate unilateral sanctions against Damascus.”

The reinstatement of Syria’s Arab League membership comes despite strong opposition from Washington to any kind of normalization of ties with the Assad regime.

The State Department said last week that Secretary Antony Blinken stressed in calls with the top diplomats of Jordan and Egypt that “those engaging with the Assad regime should weigh carefully how those efforts are addressing the needs of the Syrian people.”

He also emphasized Washington’s stance, stating that “the US will not normalize relations with the Assad regime and does not support others normalizing until there is authentic, UN-facilitated political progress in line with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254.” The Secretary emphasized the importance of coordinating with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, underscoring that UNSCR 2254 is the only viable solution to ending the war.

The US has long been critical of Assad’s regime since it condemned the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in 2011, which led to the start of the Syrian civil war. The US has provided support to the opposition forces in Syria and has called for Assad to step down from power. Additionally, Washington imposed sanctions on the Assad regime and its allies, including Russia and Iran, for their role in supporting the Syrian government.

Washington has consistently called for a political solution to the conflict that included a transition away from the Assad regime. Despite international efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, the Assad regime remains in power and the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to worsen.

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