US disappointed by attempts to ‘legitimize’ Syria’s Assad


The United States said it is disappointed by attempts to provide legitimacy to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

We are “profoundly disappointed and troubled by this apparent attempt to legitimize Bashar al-Assad,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said following Assad’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday, his first to an Arab country since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

“We urge states considering engagement with the Assad regime to weigh carefully the horrific atrocities visited by the regime on the Syrians over the last decade, as well as the regime’s continuing efforts to deny much of the country access to humanitarian aid and security,” he added.

During his visit to the Gulf nation, al-Assad first met with UAE Vice President and ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai, and later with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The Emirati state news agency WAM said al-Assad’s visit came “within the framework of the two countries' keenness to continue consultation and coordination on various issues of interest.”

In March 2011, popular protests erupted in Syria demanding a peaceful transfer of power, but the Assad regime chose to suppress it militarily, which pushed the country into a devastating civil war.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara

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