Syrian President al-Assad in UAE for talks with Sheikh bin Zayed

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Mar 2023

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad arrived in the UAE on Sunday for an official visit, accompanied by his wife Asma Al-Assad, to hold talks with by the UAE President Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad meets UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during an official visit to the UAE. (WAM)


Upon their arrival, an official ceremony was held to Al-Assad at Qasr Al Watan where he received a canon salute as his convoy entered the royal palace, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said.

The Syrian national anthem was played just before the discusssions between the two leaders. 

The talks aimed at "exploring ways of enhancing cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region", bin Zayed said in a tweet.

According to the Syrian news agency (SANA), Al-Assad and bin Zayed discussed "the positive developments in the region and the importance of utilizing them to achieve stability, safety, and prosperity".

The Syrian president praised the UAE's "rational and moral positions", describing its role in the Middle East as "positive and effective" in promoting strong relations between Arab countries.

He emphasized the need to strengthen bilateral relations among Arab nations to achieve joint Arab action that benefits the interests of their people.

The Emirati president ​"echoed the importance of Syria's return to its Arab environment and emphasized building bridges and strengthening relations between all Arab countries", the agency adeed. 

Excatly a year ago, the Syrian President traveled to the United Arab Emirates for his first visit to an Arab state since the Syrian war began in 2011. In January, Emirati top Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al met Assad in Damascus in further sign of thawing ties.

The UAE has led a shift in the Middle East towards reviving ties with Assad, who held talks in Oman last month on his first foreign trip since the devastating earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, and visited Russia earlier this month. 

Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League and boycotted by its neighbors in 2011 but the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018.

Abu Dhabi had pledged of more than $100 million in assistance to quake-hit Syria.

Analysts say a diplomatic momentum generated in the quake's aftermath could bolster Damascus's relations with Middle Eastern countries that have so far resisted normalisation after more than a decade of war.

"The UAE's approach and efforts towards Syria are part of a deeper vision and a broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability," said senior Emirati presidential adviser Anwar Gargash.

"The Emarati's position is clear regarding the need for Syria to return to" its place in the Arab world and regain legitimacy in the region, Gargash said on Twitter.

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