On March 19, Syrian President Bashar al Assad arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on an official visit, accompanied by his wife Asma al Assad.

Assad was greeted by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on arrival in Abu Dhabi and received a canon salute as his convoy entered the royal palace, Qasr Al Watan. Assad’s plane was greeted by fighter jets from the Emirate air force.

“I welcomed President Bashar Al Assad of Syria to the UAE today, and we held constructive talks aimed at developing relations between our two countries,” Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter. “Our discussions also explored ways of enhancing co-operation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region.”

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, Assad and Sheikh Mohamed discussed the recent positive developments in the region and the importance of taking advantage of those developments to achieve stability ,further safety and prosperity.

“President al-Assad stressed that dissonance and the severance of relations is an incorrect principle in politics, and that it is normal for relations between Arab countries to be solid and fraternal.

For his part, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stressed the importance of Syria’s return to its Arab environment, as well as building bridges and strengthening relations between all Arab countries for the benefit and interest of their peoples,” the state-run agency said in a report.

Assad also thanked the UAE for the humanitarian support it provided to the people in Syria after the devastating February 6 earthquake.

The Syrian presidency said first lady Asma al-Assad, on her first known official visit abroad with her husband since 2011, would meet with Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak who is the Emirati president’s mother and regarded in the UAE as the “Mother of the Nation”.

Commenting on the visit, Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to Sheikh Mohamed, said there is a need to bring Syria and its government back into the Arab fold.

“The UAE’s position is clear regarding the need for Syria to return to the fold by activating the Arab role and this was confirmed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during his meeting today with President Bashar Al Assad. A decade and a half of war, violence and destruction is enough, and the time has come to enhance co-operation and collaboration among our Arab countries to ensure stability and prosperity in the region.” Dr Gargash wrote on Twitter. “The UAE’s approach and efforts towards brotherly Syria are part of a deeper vision and a broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability, overcoming difficult years of confrontation. The events associated with the decade of chaos and their repercussions have proven that our Arab world is more deserving of addressing its issues and crises, away from regional and international interference.”

Assad last visited the UAE in March of last year, marking his first trip to an Arab country since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011.

In January, Assad met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Foreign Minister, in Damascus. Sheikh Abdullah returned to the Syrian capital last February, when he also visited areas affected by the earthquake.

Also in February, Assad paid an official visit to Oman where he reportedly discussed an Arabian initiative for Syria. The UAE is said to be one of the main sides pushing the initiative along with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Assad’s visit to the UAE will likely give a boost to the ongoing efforts to reintegrate Syria into the Arab World. Abu Dhabi and other Arabian capitals do not seem to be concerned with the radical stance of the United States and the European Union.