Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, said in an April 25, 2023 interview on Al-Jadeed TV (Lebanon) that Syria's return to the Arab League is "inevitable" and that the Arab countries are holding talks with Iran regarding its presence and influence in Syria. Aboul Gheit elaborated that Iran would not have a seat in the Arab League and that Hizbullah is a "special case," because it is part of the Lebanese government. He also said that any country that any countries that were "hostile" towards the West and Israel – such as Syria, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and Muammar Qadhafi's Libya – were made to pay a "steep price", adding that Israel is an enemy country.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit: "Syria's return [to the Arab League] has clearly become inevitable. It will happen. Will it happen at the [May 19] summit? It does not have to happen at a summit. The Council of [Foreign] Ministers can convene, and decide to invite the Syrian Foreign Minister to attend future sessions.
"If the rulers of Syria present a vision that is acceptable, at least in the region, this will bring about internal Arab agreement to expedite Syria's return."
Interviewer: "Is Iran and Hizbullah leaving Syria a condition for Syria's return to the Arab League?"
Gheit: "Look, the [Arab] countries are reaching understandings with Iran. Iran will not be allowed to be present I the hall..."
Interviewer: "You mean the hall of the Arab League?"
Gheit: "Yes. Hizbullah is a special case, because it is part of the legal and constitutional Lebanese framework. It is part of the Lebanese government.
"Whether you like it or not, the fact is that Hizbullah is present. Therefore, it has special circumstances, because of its relations with he government in Syria. It is present in Lebanon to begin with."
Interviewer: "So the condition is [only] about Iran?"
Gheit: "Iran will not be in that hall.
"Didn't Saddam Hussein fire at Israel missiles that... "
Interviewer: "Semi-primitive missiles. They were not that advanced."
Gheit: "One should not be ashamed to call them 'childish.' Nevertheless, he fires those missiles and had to pay the price. Syria confronted [the West] and had to pay the price. And so on. Qadhafi had to pay the price for his behavior.
"Anybody who behaved in a provocative manner towards the West and Israel ended up paying a steep price."
Interviewer: "How would you describe Israel today? An enemy country? An occupation country?"
Gheit: "An occupation country. Absolutely."
Interviewer: "Inshallah, it must be removed."
Gheit: "If it does not, logic says that Israel will be transformed into a country whose nature we cannot determine today."