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Syrian president Bashar al Assad invited by UAE to COP28 climate summit | World News

Syria’s president Bashar al Assad has been invited to attend this year’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

Mr Assad, whose country remains mired in a years-long civil war, was invited to the summit on Monday and if he attends he will share a venue with Western leaders who have opposed and sanctioned him for years.

He was invited by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, according to Syrian state news agency SANA and the UAE embassy in Damascus.

The agency showed images of Mr Assad reading the letter alongside an Emirati diplomat in the Syrian capital.

“COP28 is committed to an inclusive COP process that produces transformational solutions,” a COP28 spokesperson said.

“This can only happen if we have everyone in the room.”

Syria is a party to the Paris Climate Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol.

Scientists have linked a drought in Syria that began in 2007 to climate change and argued it likely played a part in the country’s civil war.

The invite comes as Arab states are rebuilding diplomatic relations with Syria over a decade after Mr Assad’s brutal crackdown on street protests against his rule descended into a civil war that has killed half a million people and displaced half of the country’s population.

The Assad regime has been accused of using chemical weapons on the Syrian people.

Bilateral relations increased in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey in February.

Mr Assad is scheduled to attend the Arab League summit on Friday in the Saudi Arabian city Jeddah after he was readmitted to the league following years of being frozen out of regional politics.

Although Arab countries such as the UAE have actively sought to re-establish ties with Damascus, the US has remained sceptical and said it does not see the merit in Mr Assad being readmitted to the Arab League.

This story originally appeared on Skynews

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