Syrian foreign minister visits Egypt for first time in over a decade
Syria's foreign minister met his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday in the first such visit in more than a decade.
Faisal Mekdad held a meeting with Egypt's Sameh Shoukry at the foreign ministry in the capital, in the first official visit since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.
The visit will help put in place steps to return Syria to the Arab League through Egyptian and Saudi Arabian mediation, an Egyptian security source told Reuters.
Syria was suspended from the Arab League 12 years ago following the government's violent crackdown on mass protests against Bashar al-Assad's rule, with many Arab states demanding the president's removal.
But in recent years, as Assad - with significant Russian assistance - has defeated his enemies across much of Syria, regional states have taken steps to end the isolation of Damascus, with the United Arab Emirates at the forefront of Arab rapprochement.
Stay informed with MEE's newsletters
Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked
The UAE reopened its Syrian embassy in 2018 and welcomed Assad to Abu Dhabi and Dubai last year during his first trip to an Arab state since the start of the war.
Saudi Arabia and Syria last week agreed to re-open their embassies after an 11-year freeze in diplomatic relations.
The move came in the wake of the re-establishment of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Syria's closest ally in the region, earlier in March.
Following the devastating 6 February earthquake which killed over 7,000 people in Syria and more than 45,000 in Turkey, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held a phone call with Assad, in the first official exchange between the two.
Weeks later, Egypt's Shoukry travelled to Syria, in a visit he described as "primarily humanitarian" and "to pass on our solidarity".
Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.