Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa Image Credit: AP

Manama: Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said serious action was needed to restore Arab role in the Syrian crisis.

The minister whose brief public encounter with his Syrian counterpart Waleed Al Mu’allem on the sidelines of UN Assembly General in New York, the first since 2011, raised questions and prompted speculations, said it was not the first time the two men met since the Syrian crisis began.

“I have met my brother Waleed Al Mu’allem several times in recent years when we were at the UN, but this time it was caught on camera. We were both scheduled to deliver our speeches on the same day, so it was a coincidence that we met,” Shaikh Khalid told Al Arabiya.

“Greetings among brothers are a must, but this meeting took place at a time when the Arab stance is going through positive changes to ensure Arab action and activities on the Syrian issue. There is a need to re-take the Arab lead. Syria is an Arab country and its people are Arab brothers, and whatever is happening there concerns us before any other nation. Unfortunately, regional and international states are looking into the Syrian issue whereas we Arabs are absent.”

The Syrian issue has been taken up at the Arab League, at a meeting of five countries at the Saudi mission and at the Arb League meeting here in New York, he added.

Shaikh Khalid said the Arabs dealt with states despite differences and divergences, and not with those seeking to overthrow them.

He added Arabs supported efforts by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura as well as attempts to help refugees return safely.

Shaikh Khalid said the US initiative to launch a strategic alliance that includes the six GCC members as well as Egypt and Jordan was very important to thwart dangers and defend the region.