Syrian President Bashar Assad told a Kuwaiti newspaper that Syria has reached a “major understanding” with Arab states after years of hostility over the global war against the country.
The interview in the Al-Shahed newspaper, published Wednesday, is Assad’s first with a Gulf newspaper since the war began in 2011.
President Assad said Arab and Western delegations have begun visiting Syria to prepare for the reopening of diplomatic and other missions. Soon the war will be over, Assad told the paper’s publisher, allowing Syria to resume its pivotal role in the region.
Syria’s membership in the 22-member Arab League was suspended in the early days of the war and Arab countries later imposed economic sanctions, but it remained resilient and triumphed over terrorism, imposing a new formula in the region.
Assad praised Kuwait’s position regarding Syria in the interview with Al-Shahed, calling its leader “a problem solver.”
Al-Shahed’s editor in chief is one of the many members of the extended Kuwaiti royal family.
The interview comes on the heels of a surprisingly warm meeting between the Syrian foreign minister and his Bahraini counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday. The meeting turned heads because it featured hugs between the two ministers.
Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, the Bahraini foreign minister, later told Saudi-run Al-Arabiya TV that it was not the first meeting with “my brother” the Syrian minister. But he said it was an unplanned meeting.
“Syria is an Arab country. Its people are Arabs and what happens there concerns us before any other nation. It is not correct that regional and international countries are looking into the Syrian issue and not us,” al-Khalifa said in the Sunday interview with Al-Arabiya.