DAMASCUS: The UAE foreign minister met with Syria’s President Bashar Assad in Damascus Tuesday, according to Syrian state media.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed’s visit is the first by a top Emirati official since Syria’s war began a decade ago.

“President Assad received UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed,” along with an accompanying delegation, the official SANA news agency said.

“During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and ways to develop cooperation in different sectors that are of common interest,” SANA added.

The UAE broke ties with Syria in February 2012 after protests demanding regime change escalated into an all-out conflict.

However, in December 2018, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus and this was followed by the Gulf country calling for Syria to return to the Arab League in March.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed also held a phone call with Assad in October.

The US has said it does not support any efforts to normalize relations with Assad until progress is made towards a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

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