Arab states need new approach towards Syria: Saudi foreign minister

There is a consensus growing in the Arab world that the status quo is not workable: Prince Faisal Al Saud

By Reuters

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Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (L) with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on February 17, 2023. -- AFP
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (L) with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on February 17, 2023. -- AFP

Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 11:57 AM

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said consensus was building in the Arab world that isolating Syria was not working and that dialogue with Damascus was needed "at some point" to at least address humanitarian issues, including a return of refugees.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud's remarks at a Munich security forum on Saturday mark a shift from the early years of Syria's 12-year civil war.

"You will see not just among the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) but in the Arab world there is a consensus growing that the status quo is not workable," he said.

The minister said in the absence of a path towards "maximalist goals" for a political solution, another approach was "being formulated" to address the issue of Syrian refugees in neighbouring states and suffering of civilians, especially after the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey.

"So that's going to have to go through a dialogue with the government in Damascus at some point in a way that achieves at least the most important of the objectives especially as regards the humanitarian angle, the return of refugees, etc," he said.


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