Saudi Arabia begins talks with Syria to resume consular services

March 23, 2023

Saudi Gazette report

An official Saudi source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed on Thursday that it has begun talks with the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with regard to resuming the provision of consular services for people of both countries, the state television Al-Ekhbariya reported.

“The resumption of talks was within the framework of the Kingdom’s keenness to facilitate the provision of necessary consular services to the two peoples. Talks are underway between officials of Saudi Arabia and their counterparts in Syria about the resumption of consular services,” the source added.

Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learned from sources that the renovation works of the headquarters of Saudi consulate located in the posh Eastern Villas in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus have been started at a time when diplomatic sources are talking about the possibilities of reopening the Saudi and Syrian consulates in the near future.

The sources confirmed that Ali Mamlouk, head of the National Security in Syria, and Director General of Intelligence Hossam Louka visited Riyadh earlier this week, and held talks with Saudi officials about the gradual return to normal relations between the two countries.

The visit follows the pledge of Damascus to carry out a package of reforms internally and establish relationships with the Syrian opposition, in addition to Damascus’ pledge not to be a source for exporting Captagon drug pills to Jordan and the Gulf states.

The talks between Saudi Arabia and Syria comes after cutting diplomatic ties more than a decade ago.

In February, Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said consensus was building in the Arab world that isolating Syria was not working and that dialog with Damascus was needed at some point to at least address humanitarian issues, including a return of refugees.

The re-establishment of ties between Riyadh and Damascus would mark the most significant development yet in moves by Arab states to normalize ties with Assad, who was shunned by many Western and Arab states after Syria’s civil war began in 2011.

It is noteworthy that relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria deteriorated following the Syrian Civil War. Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Syria after they decided to close its embassy in Damascus and expel the Syrian ambassador in 2012.

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