Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al Khuraiji receives Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Wednesday.. Image Credit: SPA

DAMASCUS:  Syria's foreign minister arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, a Saudi statement said, on the first such trip since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad flew into Jeddah after an invitation from his Saudi counterpart, according to the statement from the Saudi foreign ministry.

They will "hold a session of talks on efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that preserves the unity, security and stability of Syria", the statement said.

The foreign ministers will also discuss "facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, and securing humanitarian access to the affected areas in Syria".

Mekdad arrives two days before nine Arab countries gather in Jeddah on Friday to discuss allowing President Bashar Al Assad's Syrian government to attend an Arab League summit next month.

Ministers and top officials from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - and Egypt, Iraq and Jordan have been invited, Qatar foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari said earlier.

Over the past few months there has been increasing engagement with Assad, who has been isolated since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.

Assad has visited the UAE and Oman this year, and last month Saudi Arabia said it has started talks with Damascus about resuming consular services.