Palestinian Authority signals warmer ties with Syria’s Assad

i24NEWS

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Syria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad speaks during a press conference with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran, Iran, on December 6, 2021.
Atta Kenare/AFPSyria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad speaks during a press conference with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran, Iran, on December 6, 2021.

The letter reflects 'the Palestinian leadership’s desire to strengthen its relations with Syria'

A group of envoys representing the Palestinian Authority delivered a letter for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, in the latest instance of warming relations between Arab powers and the formerly shunned Damascus ruler.

The delegation — led by Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee — convened with Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad while on a visit to Damascus.

The letter, from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, “affirms the depth of relations between the Palestinians and Syrians and the Palestinian leadership’s desire to strengthen its relations with Syria,” delegation member Ahmed Hils said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The visit marks the latest in a series of overtures signaling closer ties with Assad, and could preface a possible return of Damascus to the Arab League, a regional organization of Arab states from which Syria was suspended in 2011.

In November, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed also met with Assad to discuss bilateral ties and opportunities for cooperation in the region.

News of the meeting drew alarm from the United States, prompting State Department spokesman Ned Price to voice Washington’s anxieties to reporters.

“We are concerned by reports of this meeting and the signal that it sends,” Price said, adding “This administration will not express any support for efforts to normalize or rehabilitate Bashar al-Assad, who is a brutal dictator.”

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