The UAE Foreign Minister affirms his country's "commitment and enthusiasm to support efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis"

Al-Assad hosts Emirati Foreign Minister in Damascus, another sign of advancing mutual relations

PHOTO/SANA - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a file photo taken on 15 November last year

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Damascus, in a sign of improving bilateral relations and the president's gradual reintegration after more than eleven years of war. The official UAE news agency reported that Abdullah bin Zayed met with Assad during a "working visit to Syria", without specifying the duration of the visit. According to the agency, the meeting discussed "bilateral relations between the UAE and Syria and ways to enhance and develop them through joint cooperation at all levels". 

They also discussed "various regional and international issues of mutual interest, including developments in Syria and the Middle East". During the meeting, Assad emphasised that the relationship between the two countries was "historic" and added that it was "normal" for the two powers to return to normal as part of a meeting in which Assad received the UAE foreign minister in the Syrian capital. Syrian state news agency SANA reported that this is a new sign of improving relations between the two countries, covering both cooperation issues and the situation in the region. 


During the meeting, Abdullah bin Zayed affirmed "the UAE's commitment and enthusiasm to support the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis". The Emirati Foreign Ministry said on its Twitter account that Al-Assad and Al-Nahyan "discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and discussed a number of regional and international issues of common interest". The conversation revolved around Bashar al-Assad's visit to Abu Dhabi last year. The last visit by a UAE Foreign Minister to Damascus was in November 2021, followed by Bashar al-Assad's visit to Abu Dhabi in March 2022 (first visit to the Arab country since 2011). 

In November of that year, the Arab League decided to suspend Syria's admission, at which point the Bashar al-Assad regime took the opportunity to militarily suppress popular protests that erupted in March of that year demanding a peaceful transfer of power. The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018 after its closure in 2011. On the other hand, the US government showed its opposition to re-establishing relations with Damascus, days after a meeting between the Defence Ministers of Syria, Russia and Turkey to address the security situation. 


Observers say political options are the only viable option as many Arab countries, led by the United Arab Emirates, realise that a military solution to the Syrian crisis is not possible. Experts and analysts say Syria must return to the Arab camp and regain its nearly 10-year vacant seat in the Arab League in an era of political, humanitarian and security crises that Syrians have experienced both at home and abroad. Many Arab countries have resumed political relations with Syria and the Syrian leadership led by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and the Arabs have almost reached consensus in Damascus. 

Experts say that the Syrian regime must take serious steps to reconcile with its people and the Arab environment, if Arab countries take the path of reconciliation with the Syrian regime, all reservations, boycotts and sanctions between the US and Europe can disappear. The impulse must be Arab, then the international problems for Syria will disappear completely.