SANA file photo
The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced on 9 December that the 2024 Arab Energy Conference will be held in Damascus.
A statement by the ministry announced that “with the approval of all members, Syria will be the Chairman of the Council of Arab Oil Ministers at the beginning of the year, and Damascus will host the Arab Energy Conference in 2024.”
The decision was taken with the approval of all member nations of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
In Kuwait, on 9 December, an OPEC meeting was held via video conference with Bassam Tohme, the Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources, representing Syria.
Toward the end of the meeting, the ministers agreed that Syria would chair the Council of Ministers of OAPEC for exactly a one year period from January 2022 to that same month in 2023.
Syria will follow Saudi Arabia as chair of the organization, who assumed the role in the previous year.
The official ministerial statement also said that all members of the OAPEC agreed that Damascus would host the 2024 Arab Energy Conference after Qatar, who the participating representatives in the videoconference agreed would host the conference in 2023.
The decision by the participating Gulf states to appoint Syria as the host of the 2024 Arab Energy Conference follows another main step in the warming of relations between Damascus and other Arab states, most of whom opposed Bashar al-Assad and supported the war on Syria that began in 2011.
In 2011, at the onset of the war, Syria was dismissed from the Arab League. In recent years, many Arab nations, including Gulf nations like the UAE, have called for the re-admission of Syria into the Arab League.
In 2018, then-Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was the first member of an Arab League state to meet with the Syrian President in an open restoration of relations. In the last few months, Assad has also engaged in talks with King Abdullah of Jordan and met with the UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, signaling a region-wide rapprochement with Damascus.