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Russia Assures Arab Capitals of Curbing Iran Influence in Syria Before Normalization

Russia Assures Arab Capitals of Curbing Iran Influence in Syria Before Normalization

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 08:00
US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the Department of State talks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese parliamentarians quoted an Arab ambassador to Beirut as saying that his government, along with other Arab governments, have received assurances from senior authorities in Moscow that Russia was serious in curbing Iranian influence in Syria. This comes as several Arab states are currently studying the possibility to normalize relations with Damascus.

The deputies told Asharq Al-Awsat that the United Arab Emirates, which reopened its embassy in Damascus, would only be appointing a Chargé d'Affaires at the current stage, instead of an ambassador.

The ambassador said that it was too early to upgrade the diplomatic representation between the UAE and Syria and that the role of the UAE embassy remained within the scope of providing humanitarian assistance and relief to those in need, due to the deterioration of their living and social conditions as a result of the war.

In this context, a Lebanese politician, who took part in the meetings held by US Under-Secretary of State David Hale with Lebanese state officials, said that the US envoy spoke clearly about Washington’s position towards the willingness of Arab countries to reopen their embassies in Damascus.

The politician quoted Hale as saying that the US administration did not encourage Arab countries to reopen their embassies, because such a move could lead the regime in Syria to decrease its support for international efforts to find a solution to the crisis, hence delay the launching of the reconstruction process.

In other words, the same politician said that Washington did not encourage steps to reopen embassies without any political price in return.

Quoting Hale, the politician said the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a number of countries in the region has resulted in the initiative of several Arab countries to postpone the opening of embassies in Damascus at the present time.

The Lebanese politician said he did not believe that the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Damascus would curb the Iranian political and military influence, stressing that Moscow and Tehran would not be pushed towards any clash in Syria.

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