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UAE invitations Syria’s Assad to Cop28 in newest rehabilitation push



The Syrian regime has been accused of committing battle crimes throughout a decade-long civil battle. Western nations have criticised efforts to revive diplomatic relations.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has been invited to the Cop28 local weather summit by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which says it desires to “have everyone in the room” in Dubai.

The transfer is more likely to trigger discomfort amongst Western leaders who’re strongly against restoring diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.

The UAE’s invitation is the most recent signal of an try by some Arab powers to rehabilitate the Syrian president who has been accused of battle crimes and human rights violations.

Syria was readmitted this month to the Arab League, a regional organisation of twenty-two international locations, following a 12-year exclusion.

“PR gift” to Assad

Kristyan Benedict from Amnesty Worldwide stated the UAE’s invite was not remotely about tackling the local weather disaster.

“It’s part of an insidious normalisation process designed to maintain impunity for leaders across the region,” he stated. “Millions of people who have fled Syria and had relatives detained, tortured and murdered, will be horrified by this PR gift to Assad.”

The Cop28 group stated it was dedicated to an inclusive course of that produces transformational options. “This can only happen if we have everyone in the room.”

Syria is a celebration to the UNFCCC and a signatory of the Paris Settlement. A Syrian delegation attended Cop27 at Sharm-el-Sheik final yr, however that didn’t embrace Assad.

Warfare crimes accusations

If confirmed, Assad’s presence at this yr’s local weather summit might result in uncomfortable encounters with leaders of countries which have imposed extreme sanctions in opposition to the Syrian regime.

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Greater than 300,000 individuals have been killed and thousands and thousands extra displaced within the nation’s brutal civil battle. The Syrian regime, led by Assad, has been accused of battle crimes, together with the usage of chemical weapons on civilians.

A UN fact-finding mission discovered “widespread and systematic human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces”, together with homicide, enforced disappearances, torture and deprivation of liberty.

Rehabilitation push

Joseph Daher, a Syria professional on the European College Institute, stated the UAE has been a number one drive behind the efforts to normalise ties with the Syrian regime.

The UAE reopened its embassy within the Syrian capital Damascus in 2018, a extremely important transfer on the time that impressed different international locations to do the identical.

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Most Western nations haven’t seen Assad’s tried rehabilitation in a superb gentle.

The US and the UK criticised the Arab League’s determination to readmit Syria.“Our position is clear: We are not going to be in the business of normalising relations with Assad and with that regime,” stated US secretary of state Antony Blinken in a joint press convention final week.

The EU stays against normaliing the Syrian regime till it engages meaningfully in a political resolution to the battle.

Uncomfortable encounters

Daher stated that, if Assad goes to Dubai, Western leaders is not going to need to be seen wherever near him within the room. “They will be careful not to show any form of legitimacy.”

The presence of authoritarian leaders has triggered discomfort at earlier local weather summits.

At Cop27 final yr, US Particular Envoy John Kerry shook palms with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, who the US doesn’t recognise because the nation’s authentic chief.

A US official later instructed the press that Kerry had been caught unexpectedly by Maduro.

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