Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received an invitation to next week’s Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, the presidency said Wednesday, the first such invitation since the country’s war began.
The pan-Arab body had suspended Damascus in November 2011 over its crackdown on protests which began earlier that year and which spiralled into a war that has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced millions and battered the country’s infrastructure and industry.
On Sunday, the Arab League welcomed back Syria’s government, securing Assad’s return to the Arab fold after years of isolation.
Assad received an invitation from Saudi King Salman “to participate in the thirty-second Arab League summit, which will be held in Jeddah on May 19”, the Syrian presidency said in a statement.
Assad said the summit “will enhance joint Arab action to achieve the aspirations of the Arab peoples,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Jordan, Nayef bin Bandar al-Sudairi, delivered the invitation.
The last Arab League summit Assad attended was in 2010 in Libya.
The invitation comes a day after Riyadh and Damascus announced that work would resume at their respective diplomatic missions in Syria and Saudi Arabia, after more than a decade of severed ties.