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Qatar FM reiterates opposition to Syrian regime's return to Arab League

Qatar has been a key supporter of the Syrian opposition throughout the war [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 March, 2019

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Qatar has stressed it remains opposed to Syria's return to the Arab League, a day after an official from Damascus attended a meeting of Arab states for the first time.

Qatar has stressed it remains opposed to the Syrian regime's return to the Arab League, a day after an official from Damascus attended a meeting of Arab states for the first time.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani made the remarks on Monday during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart in Doha.

"The causes for the suspension of Syria's membership in the Arab League still exist," Sheikh Mohammed said, Qatari newspaper al-Sharq reported.

The minister has previously ruled out renewing ties with Bashar al-Assad's regime and called the leader a "war criminal".

The comments come after Syria's parliament speaker travelled to Amman for an Arab inter-parliamentary meeting - a first since 2011.

A growing number of Arab states have voiced support for the Syrian regime's return to the Arab League, which suspended the country's membership in November 2011 as the death toll mounted in its war.

Divisions within the pan-Arab organisation, however, have stalled the readmission of Syria under Assad, who with the support of Russia and Iran has largely regained control of regime territories from rebel groups and jihadists.

But the UAE reopened its Damascus embassy in December, the same month as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since 2011.

Qatar has been a key supporter of the Syrian opposition throughout the war.

Syria's war broke out in 2011, when regime forces brutally suppressed initially peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.

The eight-year conflict has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions.

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