Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Syria over the weekend for his first visit to the war-torn country since the start of the conflict.

President Bashar al-Assad went to meet his Sudanese counterpart at the Damascus airport on Saturday afternoon. They discussed the “situations and crises faced by many Arab countries,” the Syrian government said.

The two leaders also stressed the need to build “new principles for inter-Arab relations based on the respect of the sovereignty of countries and non-interference in internal affairs.”

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership at the end of 2011 following months of brutal repression of anti-regime demonstrations and an opposition movement supported by Gulf monarchies.

A Sudanese official said late Sunday that Bashir had returned to Khartoum “from an important visit” to the Syrian capital.

The Sudanese president last visited the Syrian capital in 2008 for the Arab League summit.

The International Criminal Court has issued warrants for Bashir’s arrest over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, the Sudanese leader jetted into Jordan last year to attend an annual Arab League summit, and the authorities failed to arrest him.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse