Bahrain’s foreign minister visits Damascus for first time since 2011

Bahrain's foreign minister visits Damascus for the first time since 2011 - April 28, 2024 (Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Facebook)

Bahrain's foreign minister visits Damascus for the first time since 2011 - April 28, 2024 (Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Facebook)


Bahraini Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, arrived in the Syrian capital of Damascus today, Sunday, April 28, marking the first visit of its kind since the Syrian revolution began in 2011.

Al-Zayani met his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, at the Syrian Foreign Ministry building, as reported by the official Syrian News Agency (SANA).

Al-Zayani came to Damascus from Lebanon, where he was welcomed at Beirut airport by his Lebanese counterpart, Abdullah Bou Habib, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. There, he met with the acting Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and the two discussed bilateral relations, the regional situation, and the agenda of the upcoming Arab Summit in Manama.

The visit to Damascus came about a month after the Syrian regime president, Bashar al-Assad, received a written message from the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, which included a formal invitation to participate in the upcoming 33rd regular session of the Arab League Council at the summit level.

The summit will be held on May 16 in Manama, with the invitation delivered to al-Assad by the Bahraini ambassador in Damascus, Waheed Mubarak Sayyar.

The Manama Summit will be the second Arab summit in its regular session with al-Assad’s participation since 2010 (he participated then in the Sirte Summit in Libya), following his participation in the summit held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 19, 2023. It will be the third summit for al-Assad since 2010, after the Arab-Islamic summit on November 11, 2023, focusing on the developments in the Gaza Strip. This summit merged the Arab and Islamic summits in coordination with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

This was the first time al-Assad met in the same room with leaders of countries that have political hostility with his regime since the Syrian revolution began in 2011.

Bahrain had resumed its political relationships with the Syrian regime and reopened its embassy in Damascus on December 28, 2018, a day after a similar move by the UAE.

This Bahraini return came after Manama closed its embassy in Damascus in March 2012, making it the second Arab Gulf country to do so and withdraw its diplomatic mission from Damascus, following Saudi Arabia. Other countries followed suit, in response to the repressive handling of peaceful civil protests by the Syrian regime, which demanded political change and the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.


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