UAE’s crown prince meets with Syria’s Assad

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, the highest-profile foreign minister visit by an…

UAE’s crown prince meets with Syria’s Assad

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, the highest-profile foreign minister visit by an Emirati official to Syria since the start of the war.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II is scheduled to visit Syria later this month.

The Al-Nahyan family is well-established in Syria, with military and political leaders from across the nation having come under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates in the 1950s and 1960s.

UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash met with Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus, meeting him under tight security, said a statement by the UAE’s government.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has met with foreign leaders in the capital city in the past but has not made a foreign trip since 2015, when he visited Russia.

Damascus and the UAE have exchanged mostly holiday greetings this month.

Iranian leader says new nuclear deal will be the ‘last’ The nuclear deal between the United States and other world powers will be Iran’s last, the country’s supreme leader said Sunday.

Gargash took time to exchange views with Assad on regional developments and preparations for new rounds of Syria peace talks, the UAE statement said.

Gargash said that the UAE is committed to continue supporting the Syrian people in their efforts to achieve peace, security and stability, the statement said.

The United Arab Emirates has conducted airstrikes in Yemen and supplied billions of dollars in aid to the Yemeni government.

Like Assad, Sheikh Mohammed has made several trips to Syria, where he met with Assad and Assad’s father before him.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed met with Bashar Assad during his official visit to Syria in 2005. That visit came as Assad embarked on a campaign of violence and corruption that has brought Syria to the brink of collapsing into war.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed told The Associated Press in an interview then that he was committed to continuing to support the Syrian people.

“Syria is a part of the UAE. The UAE has not abandoned Syria, nor will it abandon Syria,” he said at the time.

The UAE is the second-largest contributor after Saudi Arabia to the Saudi-led coalition of countries fighting against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The coalition’s campaign against the rebels was expected to last years, but fighting has lasted for more than four years, spawning the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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