Saudi Arabia resumes work of its diplomatic mission in Syria

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it will allow its diplomats to resume work in Damascus, more than a decade after withdrawing them over the Syrian civil war.

“Saudi Arabia has decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in Syria,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Kingdom would seek to “develop joint Arab action,” it said, two days after Syria was readmitted to the Arab League at a meeting in Cairo.

The Foreign Ministry cited the recent Arab League meetings and decisions to unfreeze Syria’s participation in meetings and organizations of the group.

Saudi Arabia said the resumption of services was based on the “brotherly ties” between the people of Saudi Arabia and Syria and to increase regional safety and security.

The move also comes weeks after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met in Damascus with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan — the first such visit since the war broke out in 2011.

Assad was politically isolated in the region since the conflict began, but a flurry of diplomatic activity has been underway in past weeks as a decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran, a close ally of Damascus, to resume ties shifted regional relations.

On Sunday the Arab League welcomed Syria’s government back to the Arab fold.

The 22-member body had suspended Syria over its crackdown on peaceful protests that began in March 2011 and spiraled into a war that has killed more than 500,000 people.

Saudi Arabia severed ties with Assad’s government in 2012.

Assad hopes normalization with Gulf states could bring economic relief and money for reconstruction, as broader international funding remains elusive without a United Nations-backed political settlement to the conflict.

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