Arab League may have enough votes to bring Syria back into the fold

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Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi believes there are enough votes among Arab League members for Syria to return to the organization, adding that it is “only the beginning” of bringing a political end to the Syrian crisis.

Members of the League will vote on a “reversal of the freeze on Syria’s membership” on Sunday in Cairo at “an extraordinary session called for to discuss Syria and Sudan,” a senior diplomatic official told CNN.

If Syria’s membership is approved, the Syrian delegation at the high-level Arab League summit on May 19 is “very likely” to be presided by President Bashar Al Assad, the official told CNN.

The Syrian president had been boycotted by several Arab states for his crackdown on protests in 2011, violence which led to more than a decade of civil war.

“The whole movement in the Arab world to try and have a leading role in efforts to bring about a political end to the Syrian crisis took place against a backdrop, a reality in which there was no effective effort to solve the crisis,” Safadi told CNN. “It was pretty much status quo politics and status quo politics only resulted in more ills and more pain and suffering for the Syrian people, and growing threats to the region, including Jordan,” he continued.

Safadi said that “everybody” in the Arab League is on board to end the Syrian crisis, but there are differences on what the best approach is.

“The return to the Arab League will be symbolic…but ultimately in order for us to really end it [the crisis], we will have to make sure that the whole international community is on board, because at the end of the day there are sanctions, European sanctions, American sanctions, and there’s going to be a tremendous need for a global effort for re-construction,” he added.

The rehabilitation of the Syria has faced opposition from Western countries. The United States said it “will not normalize relations with the Assad regime and we do not support others normalizing with Damascus either,” according to State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel.

“We’ve made this abundantly clear to our partners,” Patel said at a department briefing Wednesday. “The US believes that a political solution that is outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 is the only viable solution to this conflict in Syria.”

Asked by CNN if Jordan has the support of the US in its efforts to bring an end to the Syrian crisis, the country’s foreign minister said that Jordan and other Arab countries are constantly discussing the matter with Washington and are working towards a solution that is consistent with the UN’s resolution.

The foreign ministers of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan met in the Jordanian capital Amman on Monday to discuss how to normalize ties with Syria. According to a statement issued after the meeting, Syria has agreed to help end drug trafficking across its borders with Iraq and Jordan.

Safadi told CNN many people have suffered consequences due to the Syrian crisis, including Jordan, and will make sure to do whatever it takes to mitigate any threat to Jordan’s security.

“We are not taking the threat of drug smuggling lightly. If we do not see effective measures to curb that threat, we will do what it takes to counter that threat, including taking military action inside Syria to eliminate this extremely dangerous threat not just in Jordan, but through Jordan to the Gulf countries, other Arab countries and the world.”


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