The Gulf state was amongst the countries that called on dictator Bashar Al-Assad to step down at the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, reiterated his country’s staunch refusal to normalise with the Syrian regime on Monday, amidst reports over re-welcoming Syria to the Arab League.
The senior Qatari official’s remarks were made in an interview with Al Jazeera in Washington on Monday, in response to a question over reinstating Syria’s membership in the Arab League during the bloc’s upcoming summit in Algeria.
Sheikh Mohammed said that returning Syria to the Arab League “goes back to the host country” and that there have been no decisions on whether Damascus has been invited to attend the senior level meeting in March.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership at the height of the Arab Spring in 2011, after the Assad regime failed to meet the deadline given by members of the bloc to halt crackdowns on peaceful protesters.
“We, as Qatar, see that there were reasons when the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and those reasons remain until now,” explained Sheikh Mohammed, noting that normalising with Assad would be “unfair to the Syrian nation”.
Reports over Syria’s return to the Arab League came as several countries in the region appeared to shift their position with regards to Assad over the past year. Such countries include the UAE and Jordan, whose officials held direct talks with the Syrian president.
Qatar was amongst the countries that openly called on Assad to step down since the very beginning of the uprising in Syria and was the first Arab country to close its embassy in Damascus.
“We have not seen any seriousness or political steps from the Syrian regime until now that proves its capability to return to the Arab League,” added the Qatari diplomat.
Qatar has long called for a political resolution to end the war in Syria.
In March 2021, Qatar, Turkey and Russia announced the launch of a “trilateral consultation process” to end Syria’s decade-old conflict amidst an apparent deadlock in the Syrian file.
According to the United Nations, the war in Syria has killed at least 350,000 civilians over the past decade.