As UAE's 'Bridges of Giving' initiative continues to support families affected by February's devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, the leader of the country is building a stronger bridge of friendship between the two nations.
The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, welcomed Syrian President Bashar Al Assad at Qasr Al Watan on Sunday and said, "It is our aim to build relations with you. We wish to extend and strengthen the bridges between us and the people of Syria."
Sheikh Mohamed posted a montage video of Assad's historic visit to the country, and during the bilateral talks, he said, "To the people of Syria, it's been too long, and you have been missed. It's time for the Syrians to return to the Arab family."
Sheikh Mohamed offered his condolences to the Syrian President and the people of Syria for the earthquake victims. He emphasised UAE's solidarity with Syria and added, “Your brothers in the UAE are with you in heart and spirit."
The President expressed confidence in Syria's ability and the determination of its people to overcome this ordeal and move Syria to a new era of stability and prosperity.
Syria's President extended thanks and appreciation to the UAE government and their immediate response while addressing the ordeal caused by the earthquake. He said, "Today, after a month has passed, when Syrians speak, what is stated is the absolute certainty that the UAE's support is filled with love. This is the most valuable thing that can be offered"
He lauded the virtues, values and deep-rooted approach in establishing the UAE, reflected in the Emirati stance towards fraternal countries.
Remembering UAE's founding father, Assad said, "I came to know Sheikh Zayed (may he rest in peace), through brief encounters. My father had a deep bond with him; they were like brothers. I came to know him through occasional meetings, and it became clear that he was a kind and beloved person.
"Today, I can see this picture even more clearly, as we appreciate the kind of country he built and the family he raised."
Sheikh Mohammed assured him, "We are your brothers, we are your family, and this is your home. We are honoured by your presence today and we hope this visit will be the foundation to help build a strong bridge to establish relationships that will serve the interest of our Syrian family, as God intended."
The UAE has rebuilt ties with Damascus in recent years, which led to a shift in the Middle East towards reviving ties with Assad. During his visit, President Assad received a canon salute as his convoy entered the royal palace and the presidential plane was escorted by Emirati fighter jets.
"We held constructive talks aimed at developing relations between our two countries," Sheikh Mohammed later said in a Twitter post. "Our discussions also explored ways of enhancing cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region."
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