La Jornada newspaper
Wednesday, November 10, 2021, p. 36

Damascus. UAE Foreign Minister Abdallah ben Zayed Nahyan yesterday met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus for the first time since 2011, in an example of growing regional efforts to reduce the isolation of the Syrian government and counteract Iranian influence in this country.

The meeting was rejected by the United States. This administration will not express any support for efforts to normalize the situation or restore Assad, who is a brutal dictator, said State Department spokesman Ned Price, without referring to him as president.

He added: we are concerned about the reports of this meeting and the signal it sends.

President Joe Biden’s administration has said it focuses on humanitarian aid.

Emirates, like the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, broke diplomatic relations with Syria in February 2012 over the repression of demonstrations in the country, which ended in a complex and devastating war that has plagued the nation for some time. more than 10 years.

Assad and the Emirati minister talked about relations between the two sister countries and how to develop them in all areas, reported the Syrian press agency Sana.

The Syrian president praised the objective and correct positions of the Emirates, which always stood on the side of our people, according to sources cited by Sana.

Although the Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus in December 2018, bilateral relations remained tense.

This visit is part of recent regional efforts to alleviate Assad’s isolation. Last month, the Emirati crown prince, Mohamed ben Zayed, spoke by phone with the Syrian president.