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Arab League to Asharq Al-Awsat: Differences Persist on Restoring Syria Membership

Arab League to Asharq Al-Awsat: Differences Persist on Restoring Syria Membership

Sunday, 3 May, 2020 - 06:00
The Arab League headquarters is seen in Cairo, Egypt December 20, 2016. (Reuters)

Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki stated that differences still persist between Arab countries over restoring Syria's membership at the organization.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that discussions on Syria's membership arise ahead of any Arab League ministerial meeting or summit, citing efforts by Algeria, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to end Damascus' isolation.

"Ultimately, no progress has been made," he revealed, saying: "Consensus is necessary."

Consensus will not be possible amid the differences in positions among members, "but we are following the issue closely to determine whether we can resolve them before the next Arab League meeting," Zaki added.

Syria's membership was suspended in 2011 over its brutal crackdown on peaceful anti-regime protesters at the start of its conflict.

The Arab League had suspended its work for over a month due to the coronavirus pandemic. A summit had been scheduled for Algeria in March, but it has been postponed. Meetings and talks have been held by telephone and video conference.

Zaki said the organization has gradually been resuming its work in line with the preventive measures adopted by Egypt, where the Arab League is based. The organization's headquarters are regularly sterilized and disinfected and employees are being tested for the virus.

The situation is so far "reassuring", he stated.

On whether the Arab League will resume its meetings normally, he said this issue will take time and at the moment, "we must rely on digital platforms."

He hoped that Arab countries will end up taking advantage of the pandemic to develop closer bonds and resilience in confronting natural disasters.

Zaki predicted that the world will contend with the repercussions of the pandemic for a "long time and they will, unfortunately, not be easily overcome, especially after opponents of globalization in the West discovered that they lacked the national means to produce the main gear needed to combat the outbreak."

"They were reluctantly forced to turn to foreign manufacturers. This will definitely leave its mark on the coming phase and our Arab countries will be affected by this in varying degrees," he said.

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