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Bahrain says embassy work in Syria continues after UAE move

31 December, 2018, 11:09 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • UAE 're-opens embassy in Syria' as Arab leaders begin to welcome Assad back from the cold

The Emirati Foreign Ministry Anwar Gargash later said the reopening was meant to normalise relations between Syria and the UAE and curb the risk of regional interference in "Arab, Syrian affairs".

Bahrain announced early Friday that it is reopening its embassy in Syria's capital Damascus.

Ex-United States ambassador to Syria in 2011, Robert Ford said: "I think they are hoping that over time that by financial and diplomatic re-engagement with Damascus, they can reduce Iranian influence".

The United Arab Emirates has reopened its embassy in Syria, in a sign of improving diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is the seventh largest producer of oil and gas in the world and has been a member of the Arab League since its independence in 1971.

Assad has vowed to recoup control of the entire country.

He added that Syria will strongly be back to the Arab world.

Earlier this week, al-Watan said that Syrian security services chief Ali Mamlouk visited Egypt over the weekend upon an official invitation of Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel and held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo. The country was also expelled from the Arab League in 2011, as Riyadh and Doha backed anti-government Sunni forces trying to topple the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus.

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It is not yet clear if more Arab countries, several of which were accused by Assad of once supporting jihadists and rebels, will follow in the UAE's footsteps.

In October, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa was seen warmly greeting his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem at the United Nations General Assembly in NY.

The UAE said the move aimed to normalize ties and to curb risks of regional interference in "Arab, Syrian affairs" - an apparent reference to non-Arab Iran, whose support for Assad has been critical to his war effort.

Tehran has been a staunch supporter of Assad's government and has expanded its military footprint in Syria throughout the course of the conflict.

The diplomatic thaw comes after the USA announced plans to pull its troops from Syria.

Trump also claimed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to finance Syria's enormous reconstruction needs.

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