Riyadh appoints charge d’affaires to its embassy in Damascus

The Saudi embassy in the Abu Rummaneh neighborhood in the Syrian capital Damascus (Getty Images)

The Saudi embassy in the Abu Rummaneh neighborhood in the Syrian capital Damascus (Getty Images)

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It is scheduled that the chargé d’affaires of the Saudi embassy will arrive in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on the coming Saturday, February 3, in a diplomatic representation that is the first of its kind since 2012.

The newspaper Al-Watan, which is close to the regime, reported today, Wednesday, January 31, that the Saudi embassy’s chargé d’affaires, Abdullah al-Haris, will be the first Saudi diplomat to start work in Syria since 2012.

Al-Haris will begin his duties from one of the hotels in Damascus and will resume the provision of consular services, after previously submitting a copy of his credentials to the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Saudi diplomat will oversee the restoration of his country’s embassy in the Abu Rummaneh neighborhood, in Damascus, on the understanding that an ambassador for the Saudi Kingdom will arrive later.

This step comes just two days after the UAE appointed its first ambassador to Damascus since 2012, where the ambassador, Hassan Ahmed al-Shehhi, arrived in the Syrian capital on January 29, according to Al-Watan newspaper.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry has not provided any details about the appointment of an acting diplomat in Damascus, nor has the UAE Foreign Ministry previously commented.

On December 24, 2023, Riyadh received the credentials of Ayman Soussan as the Syrian ambassador to the Kingdom, after he took the legal oath before the Syrian regime’s president, Bashar al-Assad, on December 6 of the same month.

Despite drug issues

Saudi Arabia is the Arab country that has partially opened the door for al-Assad to return to the Arab embrace, despite being affected by the continuous issue of drug smuggling from Syria, alongside not reaching a result through its new vision for dealing with the Syrian file.

The Saudi Kingdom has received al-Assad twice since May 2023; the first was to participate in al-Assad’s first summit (the Jeddah summit- May 19) since 2010, and the second for participation in the Arab Islamic Summit on Gaza, on November 10 of the same year.

Saudi Arabia also supports the “Jordanian Initiative” for a solution in Syria and the resulting Arab consensus on forming an Arab Liaison Committee, which held its sole meeting on August 15, 2023, before the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bou Habib, revealed last October the existence of Western pressure on the committee not to offer concessions to the Syrian regime.

 

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