Arab League readmits Syria after long absence

STORY: The Arab League on Sunday readmitted Syria after more than a decade, consolidating a regional push to normalize ties with President Bashar al-Assad.

The decision said Syria would be able to participate in Arab League meetings immediately while also calling for a resolution to the crisis resulting from the country’s civil war.

While some Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, have pushed for Syria and Assad's rehabilitation, others, including Qatar, have remained opposed without a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

The decision would also form a ministerial group to liaise with the Syrian government and seek solutions to the crisis.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit is the Arab League’s secretary general.

"The return of Syria is the beginning of a movement, not an end. The direction of the resolution to the crisis in Syria will take time for procedures to be implemented and it will be gradual. The task of this committee is to follow up on those procedures. Also, it is not a decision to resume relationships between Arab states and Syria. This is a sovereign decision left for every country to take on its own. In this decision, we are talking about holding the membership and the formation of a committee to communicate with the Syrian government and regime.”

Syria’s readmission follows a Jordanian initiative laying out a roadmap for ending the conflict in Syria.

It would address the issues of refugees, missing detainees, drug smuggling and Iranian militias in the country.

Syria’s membership was suspended in 2011 after a crackdown on protests against Assad led to civil war.

The war cost hundreds of thousands of lives, led to millions fleeing the country and left the economy in ruins.

The United States criticized Syria’s readmission to the group while raising questions about Assad’s willingness to resolve the issues resulting from the civil war.