On November 9, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on the first such visit in ten years.

The minister was accompanied by Khalifa Shahin, Minister of State at the UAE Foreign Ministry and Ali Mohammad Hammad al-Shamsi, Chairman of Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security.

Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed met with President Bashar al-Assad in the presence of Faisal Mekdad, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in Syria, Mansour Fadlallah Azzam, Minister of Presidential Affairs.

“Talks during the meeting dealt with bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and the development of cooperation in various fields of common interest, in addition to intensifying the efforts to find new aspects for this cooperation, particularly in vital sectors to boost investment partnerships,” the Syrian Arab News Agency said.

According to the state-run agency, President al-Assad affirmed the “strong brotherly relations” between Syria and the UAE during the meeting.

From his side, Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed affirmed the UAE’s support for stability efforts in Syria, considering that what has happened in Syria had affected all the Arab countries.

The UAE, which has been openly working to counter Turkey’s influence in the Middle East, restored relations with Syria around two years ago. Abu Dhabi reopened its embassy in Damascus in December 2018.

Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed visit to Damascus represents a breakthrough in the relations between Syria and the UAE. Damascus diplomatic ties with the Arab world saw much progress this year. In October, President Assad held a call with King Abdullah of Jordan.

The recent diplomatic developments were a major blow to the US never-ending efforts to isolate, sanction and pressure Damascus.