AP NEWS

UAE diplomat praises Syrian president’s ‘wise leadership’

December 3, 2019
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In this Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, the United Arab Emirates Charge d'affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi, center right, cuts a cake with Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, center, to mark UAE's National Day, in Damascus, Syria. During the ceremony Naimi praised Syrian President Bashar Assad's "wise leadership," describing relations between the two Arab countries as "solid and special." (SANA via AP)
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In this Monday, Dec. 2, 2019 photo, released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, the United Arab Emirates Charge d'affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi, center right, cuts a cake with Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, center, to mark UAE's National Day, in Damascus, Syria. During the ceremony Naimi praised Syrian President Bashar Assad's "wise leadership," describing relations between the two Arab countries as "solid and special." (SANA via AP)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A United Arab Emirates diplomat has praised Syrian President Bashar Assad’s “wise leadership,” describing relations between the two Arab countries as “solid and special.”

The comments by Charge d’affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi came during a ceremony late on Monday in Damascus to mark UAE’s National Day.

In December 2018, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus for the first time in seven years, a reflection of improved relations between Assad and some of his Arab foes as the government gains more ground in the war-torn country.

Naimi said he hopes that “peace, security and stability will prevail Syria under the shadow of the wise leadership” of Assad.

The UAE was a supporter of the Syrian opposition, which is now largely confined to the northern Idlib province after losing its strongholds elsewhere.