On April 1, Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad arrived in Egypt, in the first official visit to the country in more than a decade.
Mekdad held a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry at the foreign ministry building in the capital, Cairo. The Syrian Arab News Agency said that the two ministers discussed bilateral relations as well as recent regional and international developments.
An Egyptian security source told the Reuters news agency that the visit will help put in place steps to return Syria to the Arab League through Egyptian and Saudi Arabian mediation. Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended 12 years ago after the outbreak of the war.
Egypt was one of a few Arab countries that kept connections with the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus during the conflict.
The relations between the two countries saw a breakthrough after the devastating February 6 earthquake. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi made his first phone call to al-Assad to offer his condolences. Shoukry also paid a visit to Damascus and held a meeting with the Syrian president.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and Syria reached an agreement in March to reopen their embassies after a long freeze in diplomatic relations.
According to a recent report by the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya channel, an official Egyptian delegation will visit Damascus after Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday in the second half of April, to arrange an Egyptian-Syria summit. El-Sisi and al-Assad are expected to meet.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud will also reportedly pay a visit to Syria and meet with al-Assad after Eid al-Fitr.
The recent Egyptian and Saudi moves towards Damascus indicate that Syria’s return to the Arab World is nearing. The country already enjoys the support of most Arabian states, including Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Algeria and Tunisia.