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Syria attends first Arab League meeting in 11 years

Syria's long-isolated President Bashar al-Assad (L) and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R)
— Riyadh (AFP)

Syria ended over a decade of exile from the Arab League on Monday as its officials took part in a preparatory session ahead of Friday's summit in Saudi Arabia.

"I... take this opportunity to welcome the Syrian Arab Republic to the League of Arab States," Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told the meeting, which was broadcast live by state TV channel Al Ekhbariya.

Jadaan said he was "looking forward to working with everyone to achieve what we aspire to", as the camera panned to the Syrian delegation.

It was the first time Syrian officials participated in an Arab League meeting since the body suspended Damascus in November 2011 over its violent crackdown on protests which spiralled into a conflict that has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions.

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