UAE Foreign Minister meets Assad in Damascus

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Bashar al-Assad met with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Damascus, the Syrian presidency announced.

Bin Zayed is the first Emirati official to visit Damascus since the 2011 uprising which turned into a brutal and multifaceted war that killed hundreds of thousands of people, forced millions from their homes and destroyed Syrian infrastructure, Al Jazeera reported.

Previously, the United Arab Emirates was one of the many regional powers that supported opposition fighters in the war in Syria. With the Syrian government’s reconquest of much of the country, Arab countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt have made overtures to al-Assad’s government.

The two discussed “exploring new horizons” to strengthen bilateral ties and business partnerships at Tuesday’s meeting, according to a statement from the Syrian presidency. Bin Zayed led a delegation of senior Emirati officials, he added.

“Sheikh Abdullah stressed the UAE’s support for stability efforts in Syria … expressing confidence that Syria, under the leadership of President Al-Assad, and the efforts of his people are capable of overcoming the challenges caused by the war, “the statement read. . Al-Assad praised the UAE for its “correct and objective stance” towards Syria.

The UAE economy ministry said last month it had agreed with its Syrian counterpart to strengthen trade and economic cooperation after the two countries’ economy ministers met on the sidelines. of the Dubai Expo 2020.

Ties between the two countries have slowly revived since the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus at the end of 2018. In March 2019, bin Zayed said that the UAE intends to “make Syria return to the Arab region ”. Abu Dhabi also called for Syria’s readmission to the Arab League.

Last month, al-Assad had a phone call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II – a key ally of the United States. The conversation was preceded by the full reopening of a main border post between the two countries in September.

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