Positive signal in relations between UAE and Syria

Saturday, 2021-11-13 16:10:49
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (right) receives UAE Foreign Minister Al-Nahyan in Damascus on November 9. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Al-Nahyan has just visited Syria. The “surprise presence” of a senior UAE official in Damascus is a positive signal inthe efforts to improve relations between the two countries.

This is the first visit to Damascus by the head of the UAE foreign ministry since the conflict in Syria broke out in 2011.

Responding to the goodwill of the UAE, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Minister Al-Nahyan. The results of the meeting between the top Syrian leader and his distinguished guest from the UAE can be considered a success.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations, as well as measures to promote cooperation in many fields for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Minister Al-Nahyan emphasised the UAE's interest in ensuring security, stability and the territorial unification of Syria, and supported Damascus' efforts to end the crisis and meet the aspirations of the people.

The visit to Syria and the meeting with the president of the host country by Minister Al-Nahyan is the latest sign of the “warming” in the relationship between Abu Dhabi and Damascus after the oil-rich Gulf state cut ties with Syria in February 2012.

The UAE is not the only Arab country aiming to improve relations with President al-Assad's government. Last October, Jordan's King Abdullah II received a phone call from President al-Assad for the first time since theoutbreak of the conflict in Syria. The UAE also opened itsembassy in Damascus in late 2018.

However, the positive signals between Damascus and Abu Dhabi have not been all positive as the US, a close ally of the UAE, announced it was not considering the possibility of normalising or upgrading diplomatic relations with Syria.

Washington also expressed discouragement toward other countries hoping to improve relations with Damascus. The United States ceased its diplomatic presence in Syria in 2012 and has imposed sanctions considered “the harshest” against the regime of President al-Assad.

Countries in the region are closely watching the positive signals in the relations between the UAE and Syria. They hope that the “thaw” between Abu Dhabi and Damascus will be a lever to restore cooperation between Syria and Arab countries, thereby helping the Middle East return to stability and improve the overall security situation.