Syria’s return to the Arab League is focus of talks between Israeli, Emirati, and Egyptian leaders
Israel reportedly wants to use its 'excellent relations' with the UAE to pave the way for the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria
By News Desk - March 23 2022

(Photo credit: Reuters)

Reports in Israeli media have revealed that, during their tripartite summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, the leaders of Israel, Egypt, and the UAE discussed the ramifications of Syria’s likely return to the Arab League.

The topic came to the forefront of the meeting as a result of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s unexpected visit to the UAE on 18 March.

According to the report by Israel Hayom, Tel Aviv is hoping that the “warm personal relationship” between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) will allow for coordination on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria.

In late 2020, the UAE signed the so-called Abraham Accords, normalizing relations with Israel in a move widely condemned across the region. One year after the signing, non-oil trade between the two countries reached $700 million.

The report goes on to claim that discussions among Israeli authorities on a potential approach to Al-Assad have begun, adding that, despite their support for the US-backed war and their ongoing attacks against targets inside Syria, they are considering recognizing the Syrian president’s legitimate rule.

Over recent months, several Arab nations have moved to reintegrate Syria into the regional fold, among them Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan.

This thawing of relations among Syria’s neighbors has sent shockwaves in Washington, as US officials on 17 March released a statement calling Al-Assad’s visit to Abu Dhabi “profoundly disappointing.”

During his meeting with the Syrian president, MbZ referred to Syria as a “a fundamental pillar of Arab security,” in what many consider the latest blow to Washington’s waning influence in West Asia.

“The UAE is keen to strengthen cooperation with Syria to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Syrian people towards stability and development,” the crown prince added.

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