President Sheikh Mohamed holds talks with Syria's Bashar Al Assad

Top Emirati official says Syria should be brought back into the fold for the stability of the Middle East

President Sheikh Mohammed and Bashar Al Assad discussed ways to enhance co-operation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria. AP
Powered by automated translation

President Sheikh Mohamed met Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, where the two leaders discussed stability in the Middle East.

The Syrian leader and first lady Asma Al Assad arrived on an official visit on Sunday.

The couple were welcomed at a ceremony at Qasr Al Watan on the capital's waterfront.

Sheikh Mohamed accompanied Mr Al Assad during a rendition of the Syrian national anthem as he was welcomed with an honour guard salute.

A decade and a half of war, violence and destruction is enough
Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE President

“I welcomed President Bashar Al Assad of Syria to the UAE today, and we held constructive talks aimed at developing relations between our two countries,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.

“Our discussions also explored ways of enhancing co-operation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region.”

Mr Al Assad last visited the UAE last March, marking his first trip to an Arab country since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, said there was a need to bring Syria and its government back into the fold.

“The UAE's position is clear regarding the need for Syria to return … and this was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during his meeting today with President Bashar Al Assad,” Dr Gargash wrote on Twitter.

“A decade and a half of war, violence and destruction is enough, and the time has come to enhance co-operation and collaboration among our Arab countries to ensure stability and prosperity in the region.

“The UAE's approach and efforts towards brotherly Syria are part of a deeper vision and a broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability, overcoming difficult years of confrontation.

“The events associated with the decade of chaos and their repercussions have proven that our Arab world is more deserving of addressing its issues and crises, away from regional and international interference.”

In January, Mr Al Assad welcomed Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, to Damascus.

Sheikh Abdullah returned to Damascus last month, when he also visited areas hit by the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Syria and Turkey.

Sunday's reception was attended by senior Emirati officials including Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, National Security Adviser, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed.

A delegation from Syria was also present, including the ministers of economy, information and assistant foreign minister.

Updated: March 20, 2023, 5:56 AM