UAE reopens Syrian embassy in Damascus

Officials gather outside the embassy of the United Arab Emirates, in Damascus on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. Syria said the UAE will reopen its embassy in Damascus on Thursday. (SANA via AP)
Updated 27 December 2018

UAE reopens Syrian embassy in Damascus

  • The Emirates closed the embassy in the early stages of the Syria conflict and backed rebel groups
  • UAE wants to normalise ties and prevent the danger of "regional interference"

DUBAI: The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus on Thursday to normalise ties and prevent the danger of "regional interference".

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said Thursday that initiating communication with Damascus will not leave the region open to Iranian interference. 

He told Al-Arabiya that any decision to reinstate Syria to the Arab League requires Arab consensus, and that everyone is convinced that a political path is needed to resolve the Syrian crisis.

The Emirates closed the embassy in the early stages of the Syria conflict, which started in 2011, and backed rebel groups against President Bashar Al-Assad's forces.

But the strengthening of Assad's position in recent years and the theat of the presence of Iranian forces and their proxy militias appears to have led to Abu Dhabi seeking to improve relations.

The foreign ministry said the UAE wanted to boost the "Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic."

Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said: "The UAE decision...came after a conviction that the next stage requires the Arab presence and communication in the Syrian file."

The UAE flag was raised at the embassy and the charge d'affaires assumed his duties on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab head of state to visit Damascus since the start of the Syrian conflict.
The border crossing between Syria and Jordan, another Arab country which backed the rebels, was reopened in October. A Syrian passenger flight flew to Tunisia on Thursday for the first time in nearly eight years.
The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in 2011.

*With Reuters


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