Significant Implications of President Al-Assad Visit to UAE

  • 1 June 2008

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan receives Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Abu Dhabi today. According to official pronouncements, the visit well include a discussion of ways to strengthen ties between the two countries and of the latest regional and international developments. The discussions will also be a dialogue about Arab affairs and augmenting common Arab action. This is why the visit bears exceptional importance especially that Syria currently holds the presidency of the "Conference of the League of Arab States."

The visit has many important implications. First, it comes as part of the special brotherly relations that bind the United Arab Emirates and Syria. Second, it highlights the emphasis the two leaderships put on inter-state dialogue and exchange about developments in the region and coordination regarding the many issues of concern for the Arabs in these dangerous times. Third, the visit reflects the close relationship between the two leaderships, especially that President Al-Assad comes to the UAE only two days after UAE Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum visited Damascus. It is also important to mention that Sheikh Khalifa himself visited Syria in July of 2007 and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was there last February 18 and 19. President Al-Assad's current visit is his second to the UAE; his first visit was in December 2006.

Fourth, and importantly, President Al-Assad's visit comes at a special time. There are numerous ongoing efforts to strengthen common Arab action after the success of the Arab initiative to resolve the Lebanese crisis. There also are other expected efforts to tackle other Arab problems, most important of which is the Palestinian question. In addition, Syria needs Arab support in its Turkish-mediated negotiations with Tel Aviv.

Finally, the visit is an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries in the fields of politics, economics, trade, and investment. These relations have seen a qualitative and positive change during the last decade, especially after the establishment of the "Higher Committee for Mutual Cooperation" between the two countries, which held its first meeting in 2001.