Al-Halboosi heads Arab parliamentary delegation to Damascus
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In an effort to normalize relations with Syria, a delegation of top Arab lawmakers, headed by the Iraqi Speaker Mohammad Al-Halboosi, traveled to Damascus to meet with President Bashar Al-Assad.
The visit to the war-torn country came a day after the 34th session of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Baghdad, where they discussed the internal affairs of the body as well as Arab unity.
As the president of the legislative coordination body, Al-Halboosi headed the delegation, which included a number of top parliamentarians from various Arab countries, including Egypt, the UAE, and Jordan, among others, to Syria.
Upon their arrival, the delegation was received by Syrian officials. President Bashar Al-Assad met with the delegation later, according to the country’s state news agency, known as SANA.
In his speech during the Baghdad conference on Saturday, Al-Halboosi urged the participants to “stand with” Syria following the devastating Feb. 6 earthquake that rocked the country and killed more than 6,000 people.
Assad’s recent official visit to Oman has been interpreted by some observers as another step in the Arab normalization process, following the 12-year-long civil war, in which half a million people have died.
In addition to numerous top UAE delegations and a visit by Assad to the Gulf country, Jordan has also recently sent an envoy to Syria for quake-relief talks.
Saudi Arabia, which had opposed Assad’s rule since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, has recently announced that Riyadh will engage with Damascus about the humanitarian relief efforts, and the return of refugees.
"So that's going to have to go through a dialogue with the government in Damascus in a way that achieves an important objective, especially with regards to the humanitarian crisis, and the return of refugees," Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said recently during a conversation at the Munich Security Conference.
President Assad has regained much of the territories lost to the so-called Islamic State and opposition groups, however, parts of the country, particularly in the north and northeast are still under the control of the regime’s rivals.