History is being made. President Assad is in Saudi Arabia to participate in the Arab league summit after 12 years of Arab boycott. Arab countries are neglecting western warnings and threats against those who normalize with Damascus. A new era has begun pic.twitter.com/BgjmnBH4nm
Surreal: President Bashar al-Assad was welcomed at Jeddah airport by Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, brother of Bandar bin Sultan who plotted to assassinate Assad in 2013 and asked Arab countries to allocate $2 trillion to remove Assad from power. pic.twitter.com/4NxXUZFOaO
After more than a decade of isolation, Bashar al-Assad, the president of war-torn Syria, has been welcomed back into the Arab League.
Al-Assad on Friday attended the regional bloc's 32nd summit in Saudi Arabia's port city of Jeddah for the first time since his country's suspension following the eruption of war in Syria in 2011.
During his speech, he said the summit was a "historic opportunity" to address crises across the region as hundreds protested in rebel-held northern Syria against his participation in the event.
"I hope that it marks the beginning of a new phase of Arab action for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, development and prosperity instead of war and destruction," al-Assad told attendees.
Al-Assad said Syria would always belong to the Arab world but called for non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab states.
"It is important to leave internal affairs to the country's people as they are best able to manage their own affairs," he said.
And in an apparent swipe at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has backed Syrian rebels and sent Turkish forces into swaths of northern Syria, al-Assad noted the "danger of expansionist Ottoman thought", describing it as influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood a group seen as a foe by Damascus and many other Arab states.
Assad, along with the other Arab leaders in attendance, also condemned the "crimes of the Zionist entity against the Palestinian people."
The leaders, presidents and kings of the Arab countries stressed the importance of continuing and intensifying the Arab efforts aimed at helping Syria overcome the crisis in line with the common Arab interest and the fraternal relations that unite all the Arab peoples.
"Jeddah Declaration" was released at the conclusion of the 32nd session of the League of Arab States Council meeting at the summit level in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
The Palestinian cause is the central one for the Arabs
"We condemn in the strongest terms the violations and practices that threaten the lives and property of the Palestinians and their existence," the declaration said.
The declaration stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to reach a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian cause and to reach a real prospect for achieving peace on the basis of the Two-State solution under international resolutions.
Intensify Arab efforts to help Syria overcome its crisis
The Declaration also welcomed the decision issued by the ministerial-level Arab League Council meeting, which included the resumption of the participation of Syrian government delegations in the meetings of the Council of the League and its affiliated organizations and agencies.
"We hope that this will contribute to supporting the stability of the Syrian Arab Republic, preserving its territorial integrity and resuming its normal role in the Arab world," the Declaration said.
It stressed the importance of continuing and intensifying Arab efforts aimed at helping Syria overcome its crisis, taking into account the common Arab interest and the brotherly relations that unite all Arab peoples.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed his commitment to Palestinian statehood at the Arab League summit on Friday, amid intensified US efforts to broker a normalization deal between the Gulf kingdom and Israel.
"We will not delay in providing assistance to the Palestinian people in recovering their lands, restoring their legitimate rights and establishing an independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital," bin Salman said in his address to the Jeddah conference, where considerable attention was focused on Syrian President Bashar Assad's return to the forum after a 12-year suspension.
"The Palestinian issue was and remains the central issue for Arab countries, and it is at the top of the kingdom's priorities," added the de facto Saudi leader, who is known by his initials MBS.