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    Anti-war protesters wave a Syrian flag as they demonstrate against proposals to bomb Syria outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain December 1, 2015.

    Syria Will Return to Arab League, 'Not Surrender to Blackmail' - Damascus

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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Those who attempt to impose conditions upon Syria for the nation’s eventual return to the Arab League will not succeed, as Damascus will never surrender to blackmail, according to a statement from Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

    "Those who are trying to ignore Syria or to impose on it conditions for its return to the Arab League will not succeed in it, since Syria does not surrender to blackmail and [does not react to] disregard in anything that concerns its domestic problems," Mekdad said late on Sunday at a meeting of The British Syrian Society in Damascus, as quoted by the country's Foreign Ministry.

    He added that decisions damaging to Syria, particularly those made by other Arab countries, have been made upon the instructions of foreign states.

    "We follow all developments related to Syria's return to the Arab League and to the resumption of [foreign] embassies' operation [in Syria]. However, pressure that we face on the regional level and in the international arena challenges this process," Mekdad said, adding that Damascus was "always optimistic" anyway, given the significant success reached in the process of its return to the Arab League.

    READ MORE: Syria Could Be Arab League Member Again if All States Agree – Secretary General

    Earlier, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit asserted that Syria would be allowed to return to the Arab League if all other Arab states give their consent.

    "It will not be difficult for Syria as a founder state [of the Arab League] to include the issue [of reinstatement] to the agenda of the Arab intergovernmental council if there is a pan-Arabic consensus and there are no objections. If the Arab states reach consensus on calling Syria to return to its seat, we, on behalf of Secretariat, are ready to give it such an opportunity," Gheit said.    

    The most recent Arab League summit took place in Beirut, Lebanon, in late January 2019. 

    The 22-nation Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 after a civil war broke out in the country. Several member states then pulled their ambassadors from Damascus. Syria, one of the founding states of the bloc, condemned the decision, considering the move illegal. Since that time, Damascus has not participated in the work of the organization.

    READ MORE: Lebanon Explains Countries' Leaders Non-Participation in Arab League Summit

    In 2018, Arab League member states began making steps to re-engage Damascus and reopen embassies. In December 2018, United Arab Emirates, a league member, became the first gulf country to reopen its embassy in the Syrian capital. Immediately afterward, Bahrain, another Arab League state, announced that it too would restore its diplomatic mission in Syria.

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    statement, League of Arab States, Faisal Mekdad, Syria, Middle East
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