Members of Egypt’s House of Representatives teamed up on Monday to demand that Syria regain its seat in the Arab League.
The MPs’ call for Syria to return to the Arab world came after they listened to a statement by Egyptian House Speaker Hanafy Gebaly on his visit to Iraq and Syria on Saturday and Sunday.
“At the end of the conference of the Arab Parliamentary Union (APU) in Baghdad on Saturday, it was decided a delegation will visit Syria to extend a message of solidarity to its brotherly people after the disastrous earthquake which hit the country on 6 February,” said Gebaly.
The visit to Syria on Sunday “came upon a personal initiative from Speaker of Iraq’s House of Representatives Mohamed El-Halboosy,” noted Gebaly.
El-Halboosy “proposed the initiative and it received consensus from all delegations,” said Gebaly, noting that “El-Halboosy also intervened to make sure that an Iraqi airplane was available to take the APU delegation to Syria.”
Gebaly added that “the visit to Syria was not on the APU agenda, but it was an opportunity that came at the right time to show solidarity with the Syrian people and also stress that there is consensus among Arab peoples that Syria should be back to the Arab world as soon as possible.”
In Syria, the APU delegation met with President Bashar Al-Assad.
“I stressed in the meeting that Syria is a cornerstone of joint Arab action and indispensable to Arab national security,” said Gebaly, indicating that the APU delegation included the speakers of the parliaments of Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Libya, in addition to MPs from Oman and Lebanon and the secretary-general of the APU.
Gebaly revealed that “while we were in Damascus, we visited Syria’s parliament – the People’s Assembly – to extend another message of solidarity to the representatives of the Syrian people.”
Gebaly said that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that we should not wait for Syria to come to us, but that we should go to Syria and bring it back to the Arab world.
“I was also keen to tell Syrian MPs that Egypt and Syria have historical relations and that Egypt fully supports Syria… to recover from its current challenges and return on the road to welfare and prosperity.”
Commenting on Gebaly’s statement, MP Mostafa Bakri said “President El-Sisi’s phone call with Syria’s president after the earthquake and the Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Damascus and meeting with Al-Assad today show that Syria should get out of isolation and regain its seat in the Arab League.”
In the first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister since 2011, Shoukry arrived in Damascus on Monday morning to extend a message of solidarity to the Syrian people after the devastating earthquake earlier this month, pointing to the 1,500 tons of aid sent since the disaster, and offering assurances of Egypt’s willingness to provide more as needed.
“These visits should send a message to Arab rulers that Arab peoples can no longer tolerate the isolation of Syria and that Syria should be back to the Arab fold as soon as possible to exercise its leading role,” said MP Yossri El-Moghazi, head of the House’s Arab Affairs Committee.