Top diplomat of UAE makes highest-profile trip to Syria since conflict began

United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, second from left, and Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem, right, make their way down the red carpet on arrival at the Foreign Ministry in Damascus, Syria, Monday, May 1, 2017. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, the country’s top diplomat, made his highest-profile visit to Syria since the war began in 2011.

“The UAE remains committed to supporting peaceful solutions to end the violence and looks forward to the Syrian government and the armed opposition groupings embarking on a genuine and sustained dialogue to restore peace to the Syrian nation,” Gargash said after meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, according to Reuters.

According to the U.N., at least 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during the conflict, which has pitted President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its allies, including the Russian military, against the rebels, at times receiving military support from the UAE, the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UK. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have publicly clashed in the past over Syrian policy, with UAE PM Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum calling for an Arab peace plan in 2016.

UAE and Bahrain joined the U.S. and France in an air campaign against Islamic State forces in 2015, but a Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, has since been carrying out separate strikes. The UAE military earlier announced that it had detained 34 Islamic State extremists.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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