Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – A parliamentary delegation representing eight Arab countries visited Syria, on Sunday, in the first visit to the country whose membership in the Arab League has been frozen since 2011.
And the official Syrian News Agency (SANA) reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received a delegation from the Arab Parliamentary Union participating in the union’s conference, which concluded its work on Saturday in Baghdad.
According to SANA, the delegation includes the President of the Arab Parliamentary Union and the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and the Speakers of Parliament in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Palestine, Libya, and Egypt, in addition to the heads of the delegations of the Sultanate of Oman and Lebanon, as well as the Secretary-General of the Arab Parliamentary Union.
The Syrian News Agency quoted Egyptian Parliament Speaker Hanafi al-Jabali as saying that “Syria will return to its normal place in the Arab League, and that this visit is to support the Syrian leadership, government and people.”
Al-Jabali added, “We came to dear brotherly Syria to show solidarity with it and support its people in facing the repercussions of the earthquake, and we assure the Syrian people that we are brothers, and we stand by them in these difficult circumstances.”
Al-Jabali said, “Other Arab parliamentary delegations will arrive successively in Damascus today, after the 34th conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union, which was held in Baghdad yesterday, decided to form a delegation to visit Syria to confirm its support.”
On the sidelines of the devastating February 6 earthquake, which killed 5,841 people in Syria in areas controlled by the government and the opposition, there were signs of a possible Arab rapprochement after more than a decade had passed since Syria was isolated from its Arab surroundings.
At that time, the leaders of Arab countries made direct contacts with the Syrian President, and expressed their condolences to him for the earthquake victims. Planes carrying Arab aid landed at government-controlled airports.