Syria and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations nearly 10 years after cutting ties, both countries have announced.
The move marks yet another rapprochement between Riyadh and its former foes, after the Gulf kingdom also restored diplomacy with Iran under a deal brokered by China.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry confirmed the decision in a statement on Tuesday, saying the renewed diplomacy would strengthen “bilateral relations between Arab countries to serve joint Arab action.”
“Based on the deep bonds and common affiliation of the peoples of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the embodiment of the aspirations of the peoples of the two countries …The Syrian Arab Republic decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the ministry said.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a similar notice on Tuesday, stressing “the brotherhood ties that unite the peoples of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Arab Republic.” While neither country specified when they would reopen their respective embassies, the kingdom added that the move would “enhance security and stability in the region.”
Riyadh initially broke relations with Damascus in 2012, not long after the Syrian war kicked off, during which Saudi Arabia supplied millions of dollars in weapons and gear to jihadist rebel factions seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Saudi officials were among the first to condemn Assad’s handling of anti-government protests at the time, later shuttering the Saudi embassy in Syria and expelling the Syrian ambassador.
However, following a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran mediated by China in March, the region has seen renewed efforts to mend ties between former adversaries, with the United Arab Emirates also voicing willingness to improve relations with Syria. Tehran and Riyadh have also taken steps to end the conflict in Yemen, which has raged since 2015, taking a devastating toll on Yemeni civilians.
On Sunday, the 22-member Arab League agreed to lift Syria’s 12-year suspension from the organization, yet another step toward reconciliation. That decision followed a high-level meeting in Amman between Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, where all parties agreed to improve cooperation on combating terrorism and pledged to “support Syria and its institutions to establish control over all of its territory and impose the rule of law.”
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