Iraqi FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We’re Trying to Bring Syria Back to AL by Consensus

Sunday, 20 January, 2019 - 12:30
Beirut - Sawsan Abu Hussein

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim said there are "bilateral, tripartite and quadripartite" contacts and discussions to cancel the decision to suspend Syria's membership in the Arab League (AL).

He stressed in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that being one of the founding states for the AL, “it must be returned to its seat."

Hakim expressed regret for the absence of Syria and Libya from the Arab development summit in Beirut.

He explained that the suspension of Damascus from the AL was an Arab decision, and “we are now working to return it by an Arab decision too."

Regarding the nature of the parties calling for Syria’s return, Hakim said some Arab countries are putting effort to achieve that, and Iraq supports this decision along with Algeria, Sudan and other countries.

He explained that in order for Arab decisions to reach the level of permanent representatives or ministers, the country or group of countries must submit a formal request to the AL.

“It is commonly known that all Arab resolutions are usually passed by consensus, and if one or two countries submit their opposition, it could still be passed,” said Hakim. “However, if more than five countries submit their opposition, this will cause a problem and abort the application of the resolution.”

Therefore, timing should be chosen carefully as it is always important to gain the largest number of supporting countries in order to pass the resolution.

“We need support from opposing and reserving countries in this case," he added.

In response to a question on whether Iraq could support Syria's return to the AL, Hakim said, “Of course Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Algeria and a group of countries can submit the request.”

Yet, he explained that they don’t want to be surprised from a counter-response and want to know who are the countries that could reserve this resolution, adding that discussions are now taking place in this regard.

On Libya’s absence from Beirut’s summit, Hakim said it is bilateral matter more than an Arab one. “I guess this won’t ultimately affect the summit’s resolutions.”

He expressed confidence in the summit, saying it is important and addresses many economic problems.

“I think that Beirut declaration, which will be issued on behalf of Arab leaders at the end of their meeting, will include many significant and applicable points,” the FM noted.

He pointed out that many Arab economies today are one-sided and not connected, thus the union of these powers will be a major issue.

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