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Russia urges Morocco to return Syria to Arab League

Moroocan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita declared Saturday that Syria’s “natural place” is within the Arab League as Tunisia prepares to host the organization’s annual summit on March 31.

He made his remarks after receiving in Rabat Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is on a tour of North African countries.

“Syria is an Arab state, and its natural place is within the Arab League,” Bourita said during a news conference with his Russian counterpart.

“The question of Syria returning to the Arab League does not depend on Morocco but on the Arab League,” he added.

“The foreign ministers (of member states) will decide on this subject,” he stressed. “What interests us is Syria’s stability and security.”

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 as the death toll in the country’s war mounted.

Persistent divisions between the Arab League’s member states have worked against Syria’s readmission.

The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, the same month Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit of any Arab leader to the Syrian capital since the start of the war.

For his part, Lavrov backed overtures to readmit Syria.

“As we have discussed in Algeria over the past few days, we would like, Morocco and Tunisia to also support Syria’s return to the Arab family, the Arab League,” he said in Rabat.

Lavrov, who has also visited Algeria on his tour, said that Morocco and Russia agreed to ramp up “anti-terror cooperation”.

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