Middle East

Oman’s Sultan congratulates Syria’s Assad on victory; Qatar rules out normalization

Oman’s Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik has offered his felicitations to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on his victory in the 2021 presidential election.

In a cable sent on Sunday, Sultan Haitham also expressed his best wishes of success to the Syrian president “in leading the Syrian people towards further aspirations of stability, progress and prosperity”.

Assad won his fourth seven-year term in the 2021 presidential election by a landslide, securing 95.1 percent of the popular vote.

Syrian parliament speaker Hamoudeh Sabbagh announced on Thursday that Assad had overwhelmingly won the country’s presidential election as opposed to 88.7 percent in the 2014.

Sultan Haitham is the first Persian Gulf Arab leader to congratulate Assad on his re-election.

Oman reinstated its ambassador to Syria last October, becoming the first Persian Gulf Arab state to do so since a foreign-backed militancy erupted in the country.

Some Arab states are seeking reconciliation with Damascus after the country gained the upper hand against the foreign-backed terrorists.

In December 2018, the UAE officially reopened its embassy in Damascus, which had been closed soon after the militancy began in Syria in 2011. The Persian Gulf country has a charge d’affaires there.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies, including the UAE, have been aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups that were wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Syrian forces have already managed to undo the terrorist gains across the country and bring back almost all of Syrian soil under government control.

Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media adviser to Bashar al-Assad, said on Wednesday that efforts are underway to improve diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after more than a decade of estrangement between the two Arab nations.

“Efforts are being made to upgrade ties with Saudi Arabia, and may soon have positive results,” Shaaban told local Arabic-language Sham FM radio station.

However, Qatar, which, along with Saudi Arabia, is one of the main regional backers of the anti-Damascus militants ruled out the re-establishment of ties with Syria.

“So far we see nothing on the horizon for a political solution acceptable to the Syrian people … the (government’s) approach and conduct has not changed,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said in an interview with UK-based Al Araby television which was aired on Friday.

“There is no motivation for us to re-establish ties with the Syrian regime at this time,” he added.  

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