Al-Assad arrives in UAE as Syria seeks reconciliation with Arab world
Cairo, Mar 19 (EFE).- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday called for fraternity between Syria and Arab states after arriving in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a further step towards an apparent rapprochement after years of isolation.
On their first trip abroad since the start of the Syrian civil war erupted 2011, al-Assad and his wife Asma were received by the UAE’s president Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon arrival at Abu Dhabi airport, according to the official Syrian news agency Sana.
“President al-Assad stressed that dissonance and the severance of relations is an incorrect principle in politics and that it is normal for relations between Arab countries to be solid and fraternal,” a presidential statement said, according to Sana.
Meanwhile, bin Zayed pointed out it was time Arab countries reconciled with Syria, saying “a decade and a half of war, violence and destruction is enough.”
“The UAE’s position is clear regarding the need for Syria to return to its place… and this was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during his meeting today with President Bashar al-Assad,” presidential adviser Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter.
The trip comes a year after al-Assad paid an unannounced visit to the Gulf country, the first he made to an Arab country since the outbreak of the civil war.
At the royal palace, al-Assad was greeted by a guard of honor and a rendition of the Syrian national anthem, said Sana.
The Syrian leader and his Emirati counterpart are scheduled to hold a meeting later, Sana and the UAE news agency said, without giving further details.
The Syrian first lady, meanwhile, was expected to meet Fatima bint Mubarak, the president of the General Women’s Union.
Al-Assad, accompanied by several politicians, flew to Moscow for a meeting with president Vladimir Putin four days ago, a month after devastating earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria and led Egyptian and Jordanian senior officials to visit the Syrian capital for the first time since 2011.
Saudi Arabia has also maintained that the Arab world’s approach toward Syria was “not working” and a change was needed after years of hostility.
Al-Assad is also a key ally of Iran, the country which has restored diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after seven years of tensions.EFE