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United Arab Emirates to reopen embassy in Syrian capital

The United Arab Emirates will reopen its embassy in Damascus seven years after withdrawing its diplomatic re...

Posted: Dec 27, 2018 8:35 PM
Updated: Dec 27, 2018 8:35 PM

The United Arab Emirates will reopen its embassy in Damascus seven years after withdrawing its diplomatic representation from Syria, the Emirati government said Thursday.

The embassy has been closed since 2011 when the Syrian civil war that has killed more than 400,000 people began.

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An ambassador will not be posted immediately, an Emirati government source told CNN.

The move is intended to help restore relations between the two countries, the state-owned news agency WAM reported, citing a statement from the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

It added that "the UAE is looking forward to safety and security and stability" being restored in Syria.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, wrote about the reopening of the embassy on Twitter, saying that "the Arab role in Syria has become more necessary to counter Iran and Turkey's hold on the region."

"It [the reopening] is the fruit of the conviction that the next phase requires Arab presence and communication with Syria for the care of its people, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Gargash said in another tweet.

The reopening of the Emirati Embassy could reduce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's isolation from neighboring countries.

It comes more than a week after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Syria. The Sudan ruler's December 16 trip was the first time a leader from the Arab League -- an organization of 22 Middle Eastern and African countries and the Palestine Liberation Organization -- had visited the country since the war began.

The Arab League expelled Syria in 2011 in response to the government's violence against its own citizens.

The move also follows President Donald Trump's December 19 order for a complete withdrawal of 2,000 US troops from Syria, declaring that ISIS had been defeated. Trump's decision went against the advice of his military generals and top national security officials.

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