Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during his official visit to the UAE. (Wan)
After their arrival, an official ceremony was held in Qasr Al Watan for Assad, who received a gun salute as his motorcade entered the palace, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said.
The Syrian national anthem was played ahead of the talks between the two leaders.
In a tweet, bin Zayed said the talks aimed to “explore ways of strengthening cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region”.
I welcome Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to the UAE today, and we held constructive talks aimed at developing our relationship. Our discussions also explored ways to strengthen cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region. pic.twitter.com/QlcIWomFDE
– Mohamed bin Zayed (@MohamedBinZayed) March 19, 2023
Assad and bin Zayed discussed “positive developments in the region and the importance of using them to achieve stability, security and prosperity,” according to the Syrian News Agency (SANA).
The Syrian president praised the UAE’s “rational and moral stance”, saying its role in the Middle East has been “positive and effective” in promoting strong relations among Arab states.
He stressed the need to strengthen bilateral relations among Arab countries to achieve joint Arab action in the interests of their peoples.
The Emirati president “responded to the importance of Syria’s return to the Arab environment and emphasized building bridges and strengthening relations between all Arab countries,” the agency said.
Exactly a year ago, the president of Syria traveled to the United Arab Emirates for a visit his first visit An Arab country since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.In January, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al meet with assad Signs of a further thaw in relations in Damascus.
The UAE is leading the Middle East’s shift toward restoring ties with Assad, who held talks in Oman last month in his first foreign trip since a devastating earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, and visited Russia earlier this month .
Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League in 2011 and boycotted by neighboring countries, but the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018.
Abu Dhabi has pledged more than $100 million in funding earthquake relief– hit Syria.
Analysts say the diplomatic momentum generated after the quake could strengthen Damascus’ ties with Middle Eastern countries that have so far resisted normalization after more than a decade of war.
“The UAE’s approach and efforts toward Syria are part of a broader vision and broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability,” said Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s senior presidential adviser.
“Emarati’s position is clear that Syria needs to return” to its place in the Arab world and regain its legitimacy in the region, Gargash said on Twitter.