Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Discusses Syria With Assad, UAE State Media Reports

U.S. allies in the Mideast have been restoring ties with Assad, who was given the cold shoulder after the bloody crackdown in 2011 at the beginning of Syria's civil war

Reuters
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Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrives for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, last month.
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan arrives for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, last month.Credit: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates' de facto ruler, discussed developments in Syria and the Middle East with Syria's President Bashar Assad on Wednesday, Emirates News Agency reported.

Washington's main regional allies have stepped up economic and diplomatic ties with Assad, shunned after a bloody crackdown over a decade ago on peaceful protests against his rule that spiraled into a multi-sided war that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

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The UAE re-opened its mission to Damascus in late 2018 in a bid to counter the influence of non-Arab actors such as Iran, which along with Russia backs Assad, and Turkey, which backs rebel forces. WAM gave no further details of the talks.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was invited to make his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates as he met with the ambassadors of the UAE and Bahrain in Israel.

Bennett's meeting with the Bahraini and Emirati ambassadors, Khaled Yousif Al Jalahma and Mohammed Al Khajah, was held at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, where Al Khajah extended the invitation to Bennett on behalf of the crown prince. The meeting included discussions on expanding ties, regional cooperation, and furthering the so-called Abraham Accords, according to a statement from Bennett's office.

Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally, fully reopened its main border crossing with Syria in late September, to boost the countries' struggling economies and reinforce the push by Arab states to reintegrate Syria.

Jordan's King Abdullah also spoke to Assad for the first time in a decade this month while the Egyptian and Syrian foreign ministers met last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, in what Egyptian media said was the first meeting at that level for about a decade.

Haaretz contributed to this report. 

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