Syrian foreign minister and Arab League head meet

Signs of rapprochement after Syria regime and Arab League officials seen in warm exchange
2 min read
28 September, 2019
The Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit met senior Syria regime officials at the UN on Friday.
Muallem has been cold-shouldered by much of the world [Getty]

Signs that Bashar al-Assad's regime could be coming in from the cold were seen at the UN on Friday, when the head of the Arab League exchanged a warm handshake with Syria's foreign minister.

Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011, after regime forces brutally suppressed peaceful protests in the country.

The Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, had a brief and unplanned, but visibly cordial, meeting with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem during the annual UN General Assembly.

Aboul Gheit is seen at the UN headquarters before passing Muallem, who turns around, a video shared on Twitter shows.

"Good evening. Great. How are you?" Aboul Gheit says, before shaking Muallem's hand and kissing him on both cheeks.

The Egyptian Arab League head is seen engaged in a brief exchange with Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and its ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari.

"Really, it's always a pleasure to see you," Aboul Gheit says to the Syrian officials before giving a friendly tap on the shoulder.

Syria has been largely by the Arab League, Europe and North America, following the war which erupted in 2011 after the regime's brutal military campaign against opposition rallies.

Arab and Western officials have gradually come to accept that Assad will succeed in maintaining power.

The Arab League is expected to take steps to readmit Syria back to the body at its next summit.