Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, on Tuesday said increased engagement with Syria might pave the way for its return to the Arab League as ties thaw after more than a decade of isolation, though he stressed it was too early to discuss such a step, Reuters reported.
Speaking to reporters in London, Prince Faisal reiterated that consensus was building in the Arab world that isolating Syria was not working and that dialogue with Damascus was needed, especially to address the humanitarian situation there.
"An engagement in order to address these concerns is necessary. And that may well lead eventually to Syria returning to the Arab League et cetera. But for now, I think it's too early to discuss," he added.
The pan-Arab bloc froze Syria's membership in November 2011 over the bloody government crackdown on protesters.
In December of 2018, reports emerged that Gulf nations were moving to readmit Syria into the Arab League and that it could be readmitted some time in 2019. Three months later, however, the Arab League poured cold water on those reports and said it was not planning to discuss reinstating Syria's membership.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has benefited from an outpouring of support from Arab states following the devastating earthquake on February 6, which killed thousands of Syrians.
Saudi Arabia will host this year's Arab League summit. Asked on Tuesday whether Syria would be welcome, Prince Faisal replied, "I think it's too early to talk about that."
"But I can say that ... that there is a consensus building in the Arab world, that the status quo is not tenable. And that means we have to find a way to move beyond that status quo," he added, according to Reuters.