Syria, UAE discuss developments in the region, economic cooperation
The Emirati President tells his Syrian counterpart that Syria has been absent from its brothers for too long.
At a meeting on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan reportedly told his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad that it was time for Damascus to be reintegrated into the wider Arab region.
Al-Assad’s visit to the UAE marks his second since the war on Syria. It follows an earlier visit to Oman back in February.
Read more: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad arrives in UAE on official visit
Syria has been lately subject to initiatives of Arab affinity aiming at making political amends with the country they severed ties with.
"Syria has been absent from its brothers for too long, and the time has come for it to return to them and to its Arab surroundings," bin Zayed Al Nahyan told Al-Assad during a meeting at the presidential palace, according to WAM news agency.
Read more: Assad receives UAE Foreign Minister, accompanying delegation
In addition to calling for initiatives for the repatriation of Syrian refugees, the Emirati President commended the planned dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, which is now moving toward a settlement with Syria after years of supporting insurgent armed groups, WAM reported.
Abu Dhabi reestablished diplomatic ties with the Syrian government back in 2018. After the recent devastating earthquake which struck northern Syria, UAE was one of the few Arab countries to send humanitarian aid to Syria. In February, following the earthquake, the Emirati Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, became the first senior Arab official to visit Syria since the outbreak of the war.
Analysts have contended that the aftermath of the earthquake has conditioned Middle Eastern countries to be more inclined toward reestablishing ties with Syria under the plight of international public opinion calling for assisting the quake-afflicted people.
Read more: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad arrives in Moscow: Office
"The UAE's approach and efforts towards Syria are part of a deeper vision and a broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability," said Emirati senior presidential advisor Anwar Gargash.
"The UAE's position is clear regarding the need for Syria to return to its place in the Arab world and regain legitimacy in the region,” Gargash tweeted.
"This was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed during his meeting today with Assad,” the advisor added.
According to a statement released by the Syrian presidency, Al-Assad commended the UAE's efforts at improving ties among Arab nations during their meeting on Sunday. The Syrian President emphasized that inter-Arab ties should be "fraternal".
During the war on his country, Al-Assad had rarely gone on visits abroad, with the exceptions of Iran and Russia.
Sunday's UAE visit marks the Syrian President and the First Lady’s official trip together in more than a decade. This trip follows the recent Saudi-Iranian summit in Beijing.
Read more: Saudi-Iranian agreement to restore diplomatic relations
"Saudi policy has taken a different direction towards Syria," Al-Assad said commenting on the recent summit in Beijing.
Ali Shamkhani, a high-ranking Iranian security official, met with the Emirati President on Thursday in Abu Dhabi and spoke with Prince Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's national security advisor, who was present during Al-Assad's welcoming ceremony on Sunday.
Read more: Iran SNSC chief Shamkhani holds talks in Iraq after UAE visit
Earlier last month, the Saudi Foreign Minister said a consensus was gradually developing in the Arab world, and thus deliberating a new strategy toward Damascus would be necessary.
Emirati analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdulla said that the UAE "is convinced, along with many Arab states, that the time has come to reconcile with Assad... and see Syria return to the Arab League and the Arab fold."
"The UAE is spearheading efforts to reconcile with enemies of the past and transform them into the friends of tomorrow," Abdulla told AFP.