US ‘concerned’ about UAE Foreign Minister’s meeting with Syria’s Assad

WASHINGTON – Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, addressed the meeting between the UAE Foreign Minister and Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, a sign of improving ties between Assad and a Arab state ally of the United States that once supported rebels trying to overthrow it.
“We are concerned about the reports from this meeting and the signal it sends out,” Price said. “As we have said before, this administration will not express any support for efforts to normalize or rehabilitate Bashar Assad, who is a brutal dictator,” he added.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed is the highest ranking Emirati dignitary to visit Syria in the decade since the outbreak of a civil war in which several Arab states mainly backed Sunni Muslim insurgents against Assad.

The foreign minister led a delegation of senior Emirati officials who discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in a meeting with their Syrian counterparts, a statement from the Syrian presidency said.

“We urge the states of the region to carefully consider the atrocities that this regime, which Bashar Assad himself has perpetrated against the Syrian people over the past decade, as well as the regime’s ongoing efforts to deny much of the country the access to humanitarian aid and security. “Price said during the State Department press conference. “This is an issue that we often have the opportunity to discuss with our close partners in the region, including our Emirati partners, and we have made our position on this very clear.”

SYRIAN PRESIDENT Bashar Assad addresses members of his country’s parliament in Damascus in August. (credit: SANA / REUTERS)

He went on to say that the United States will not normalize or improve its diplomatic relations with the Assad regime, “nor do we support other countries to normalize or improve their relations, given the atrocities that this regime has inflicted on its own people, the Syrians.” people.”

He said that stability in Syria and the region “can only be achieved through a political process that represents the will of all Syrians, and we are committed to working with allies, we are committed to working with partners and the UN towards the achievement of a lasting political solution “.

When asked if the US conveyed its discontent over the meeting to the UAE, Price noted that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had the opportunity to see his Emirati counterpart recently when he traveled to Europe and the UK. “I don’t want to characterize the meeting more publicly,” Price said. “I will say that it did not take us by surprise.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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