Tunis: Tunisia has denied reports that it was planning to invite Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to the Arab League summit in Tunis next March.
“Tunisia has so far sent out invitations only to Saudi Arabia and to the UAE,” Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui told a local daily.
“The decision regarding the status of Syria can be taken only after the Arab leaders meet at their summit. They are the ones who decide about Syria, not Tunisia,” the minister said.
A Tunisian media figure this week posted on her Facebook page that she had learned from reliable sources that Tunisian President Beji Qaid Al Sebsi was planning to invite Al Assad to the summit.
The report alleged that a visit by the Syrian foreign minister to Tunisia was also planned.
However, the report was dismissed as lacking credibility with a Syrian official claiming that the Arabs would have to go to Damascus instead of Syrians going to the Arabs.
Another report that alleged that the Iraqi president was planning to make a visit to Damascus was also dismissed by Iraqi officials as untrue and lacking credibility.
Syria was suspended by the 22-member Arab League in 2011 in a vote supported by 18 countries and opposed by Syria; Lebanon and Yemen. Iraq opted to abstain from voting.
The Arab League stated that Al Assad was using overwhelming military force against his people and failing to negotiate with the opposition and insisted that the Syrian regime should implement the Arab initiative in order to resume relations and reinstate Syria as a member of the League.
This week, Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir made an unannounced one day visit to Damascus, the first by an Arab leader since the Arab League decision.
The visit generated numerous reports claiming that Tunisia and other countries were working on unfreezing Syria’s membership.
In recent months, Syrian officials said they reached deals and agreements with several Arab countries, but did not name them.