Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has invited Syrian regime leader President Bashar Al-Assad to attend an upcoming Arab League meeting that will take place on May 19.
The Saudi official press agency has reported the invitation. This could be a big deal for Assad as Syria was recently invited to return to the Arab League with some conditions. Syria’s regime also recently met with Iran and Turkey in Russia.
According to the reports from Riyadh, “the invitation to the meeting was handed over by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Jordan, Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi, during a meeting with the president in Damascus.”
This is a major development and shows how quickly Saudi Arabia has worked to bring Syria back into the Arab fold.
An emerging era of new Arab diplomacy
The goal of Saudi Arabia is to lead new diplomatic initiatives in the region as part of an emerging era of new Arab diplomacy. Towards that end, Saudi Arabia has also reconciled with Iran in a China-backed deal.
The goal of Riyadh is “stability” in the region. The message to Assad on the eve of the Arab League meeting is all about this stability. However, Iran’s role in Syria generally destabilizes Syria, potentially putting Iran and Saudi at cross purposes on what is happening in Syria.
Watching the next steps of Syria and Saudi Arabia in the coming week will be important. The Arab League invited Syria to return to the League after a closed-door meeting in Cairo recently. Syria was suspended from membership in 2011 during the Syrian civil war and Damascus' crackdown on protests that led to a conflict.