Assad in UAE as second post-quake Gulf visit signals growing Arab outreach

DUBAI-Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met Sunday with Emirati leaders in Abu Dhabi, his second Gulf visit since last month’s earthquake prompted renewed efforts to bring Damascus back into the Arab fold. The trip -- Assad’s second to the oil-rich United Arab Emirates in as many years -- comes after a visit to Oman last month, his only official engagements in Arab countries since the start of Syria’s war in 2011. The UAE’s president, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, greeted Assad and his wife Asma in the capital, official news agency WAM said, before high-level meetings at the presidential palace. “We held constructive talks aimed at developing relations between our two countries,” the Emirati president said in a statement. “Our discussions also explored ways of enhancing cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region,” Sheikh Mohamed added.

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