DECEMBER 9, 2022
Syria News Saudi Arabia News

Saudi Arabia Appoints Ambassador to Syria After Decade-Long Hiatus

Saudi Arabia Appoints Ambassador to Syria After Decade-Long Hiatus

Saudi Arabia has appointed its ambassador to Syria for the first time since closing its embassy in Damascus in 2012, following a period of foreign-backed terrorism and violence in the country.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday that Faisal al-Mujfel will be the new ambassador to Syria. The report quoted al-Mujfel expressing his hope to "serve the Kingdom's interests and strengthen the bilateral bonds between the two brotherly nations."

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Syria with a chargé d'affaires after Syria reopened its Riyadh embassy last year and appointed a new ambassador in December.

This re-establishment of diplomatic relations marks a significant development as regional Arab states move to reconcile with Syria. The Arab countries' decision to restore relations follows Syria’s increasing success in reclaiming large parts of its territory and overcoming foreign-sponsored terrorism.

In a related development, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) dispatched its first ambassador to Syria in January after a 13-year hiatus. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received the Emirati envoy, Hassan Ahmed al-Shehhi, in early February, after he presented his credentials to Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad. Al-Shehhi expressed a commitment to enhancing bilateral relations between the UAE and Syria.

Before appointing an ambassador, the UAE had reopened its embassy in Damascus in December 2018, with Abdul Hakim al-Nuaimi as the chargé d'affaires. In March 2022, President Assad visited the UAE, meeting with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This visit came months after Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan traveled to Damascus.

In May 2022, the 22-member Arab League agreed to reinstate Syria, ending a 12-year suspension and taking another step toward reintegrating the country into the regional fold.

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