Assad visits UAE for the second time in a year, signaling shift in regional dynamics

News Bulletin Reports
2023-03-19 | 13:58
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Assad visits UAE for the second time in a year, signaling shift in regional dynamics
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Assad visits UAE for the second time in a year, signaling shift in regional dynamics

In a notable development, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the second time, with both visits occurring between March 19, 2022, and March 19, 2023. This year, the Syrian regime has opened more doors and expanded its range of international visits.

While Assad's first visit to the UAE was more official and less ceremonial, his second visit was surrounded by protocol, with warplanes in the sky, artillery salutes, and the participation of the First Ladies. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, welcomed Assad and tweeted that the two sides held positive and constructive talks to support and develop fraternal relations, promote cooperation and coordination on issues that serve stability and development in Syria and the region.

According to the SANA news agency, the talks also covered positive developments in the region and the importance of building upon these developments to achieve stability for the region's countries and peoples, who aspire for greater security and prosperity.

After cutting diplomatic ties with Syria in February 2012, the UAE was among the first Arab capitals to break international diplomatic isolation of the Syrian regime. 

The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus at the end of 2018 and its Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, made several visits to Syria, meeting Assad. 

The UAE also welcomed Assad in March 2022, marking his first visit to an Arab country since 2011.

Assad's first visit was seen as the culmination of a series of efforts led by the UAE to reintegrate Syria into the Arab fold and was thought to be followed by economic steps, including the reconstruction of Syria. 

From agreement on changing the Syrian regime to efforts to restore relations between the regime and regional countries, the shift signals a possible reordering of regional dynamics, especially in light of the recent Saudi-Iranian agreement.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Arab countries, led by Jordan, have proposed providing billions of dollars in aid for Syria's reconstruction and pledged to pressure the United States and European countries to lift economic sanctions on Assad's regime. 

However, in return, Assad is expected to cooperate with the Syrian opposition, accept the deployment of Arab forces to protect returning refugees, halt drug smuggling, and limit Iranian presence in Syria.

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