Kuwait says expects more Arab states to reopen Syria embassies

Kuwait said on Monday it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in “coming days” but added that the move would need a green light from the Arab League, which suspended Syria’s membership seven years ago.

Arab states, including some that once backed opposition against Bashar Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war.

The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy in Damascus last Thursday and Bahrain said the next day that its embassy there and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama had been operating “without interruption.”

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said the Gulf state remained committed to the Arab League’s decision and would reopen its embassy in Damascus once the organisation allowed it.

Jarallah expected a “thaw in relations between Syria and Arab Gulf states in the coming days as more nations look to reopen their embassies in Damascus,” state news agency KUNA reported.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, al-Jarallah also criticized what he described as “fabrications” by the Syrian regime, which on Sunday added the names of 30 Kuwaiti nationals to its list of “terrorists”

Along with al-Jarallah himself, these names also reportedly include Nayef al-Ajmi, a former Islamic affairs minister who has also been accused by the U.S. of supporting terrorists in Syria.

The names also include those of two sitting lawmakers, several former lawmakers and a number of Muslim preachers who led donation campaigns for the uprising against the Assad regime.

On Monday, local media outlets reported that Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry had summoned Syrian Chargé d’Affaires Ghassan Anjarini to protest the move by Damascus.

Arab League’s permanent representatives are due to meet in Cairo on Jan. 6.

U.S-allied Gulf Arab states were the main regional backers of armed groups opposed to Assad, providing finance or weapons or both, acting largely as part of a program of support for the armed opposition coordinated by Washington.

Unlike its other neighbors, Kuwait kept Syria’s embassy in Kuwait City open and opposed arming the opposition. Kuwait has led a humanitarian fundraising campaign for Syria through the United Nations.

An Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters last week he believed a majority of members wanted Syria to be readmitted.

Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 in response to the government’s violent crackdown on “Arab Spring” protests. For Syria to be reinstated, the Arab League must reach a consensus.

Source: Daily Sabah