The Syrian president traveled to the UAE for talks with country’s leaders on expanding bilateral relations
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) meets with with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in Abu Dhabi, March 18, 2022. © AFP / UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs / Hassan Al Menhali
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stepped up an effort to thaw relations with Arab nations that opposed him during a war that devastated his country for 11 years, traveling to the United Arab Emirates for talks on improving ties with the oil-rich state.
Assad met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi and with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai on Friday, marking his first visit to another Arab nation since the fighting in Syria began in 2011. The leaders discussed expanding bilateral cooperation – particularly in terms of investment and economic relations – to promote the “aspirations of the two brotherly peoples,” Assad’s administration said.
Bin Zayed reportedly confirmed the UAE’s support for Syria’s territorial integrity and affirmed the need for the withdrawal of “all foreign forces which exist illegitimately on the Syrian lands.” Assad said that given increasing instability around the world, “we must continue with adherence to our principles, the sovereignty of our countries and the interests of our peoples.”