UAE flag raised over reopened embassy in Damascus

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The flag of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seen over the UAE embassy in Damascus, Syria, Dec. 27, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Syrian capital Damascus was reopened Thursday afternoon and the UAE flag was raised over it, for the first time in seven years.

The reopened embassy marks the first state of the Gulf Cooperation Council to resume diplomatic work in Syria.

Hamzeh al-Dawalibi, drector of Protocol Department of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, as well as Iraqi and Sudanese ambassadors and diplomats from the Tunisian and Algerian embassies, showed up at the embassy where an opening ceremony took place inside.

Xinhua reporters on site heard a burst of hand-clapping, which was followed by the hoisting of the UAE flag.

Abdul-Hakim al-Nuami, the UAE charge d'affaires, was cited by the pro-government Sham FM radio as saying that the return of the UAE embassy is a prelude for the return of other Arab embassies to Syria.

He added that Syria will strongly be back to the Arab world.

Iraqi Ambassador Saad Muhammad Rida told reporters upon leaving the opening ceremony that the raising of the UAE flag and the opening of the embassy in Damascus is an invitation to all Arab countries to return to Damascus.

"Syria is a country in the heart of the Arab world and it's an indescribable country in the Arab world and this is an invitation to the Arab countries to return," he said.

Sources familiar with the situation told Xinhua that the Syrian employees have started their jobs at the embassy on Thursday.

Local reports said that some maintenance work was carried out inside the embassy ahead of its opening.

In his recent remarks, Syria's deputy foreign minister said: "We welcome any step for the return of all Arab embassies to Syria."

All Gulf states had closed their embassies in Damascus after the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011.

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