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Assessing Bahraini-Syrian encounter in New York

Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa's meeting with his Syrian counterpart leaves observers questioning its position on the Syrian crisis.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 28, 2018. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Late last month at the UN General Assembly in New York, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa warmly embraced his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem. The encounter raised many questions about Bahrain and, by extension, other Arab Gulf states’ current Syria policy. The following day, Khalifa stood by his decision to meet with Syria’s top diplomat, stating that it was “unplanned” and that both officials had had previous meetings at earlier junctures in the Syrian crisis.

In his words: “Greetings among brothers are a must, but this meeting took place at a time when the Arab stance is going through positive changes to ensure Arab action and activities on the Syrian issue. There is a need to re-take the Arab lead. Syria is an Arab country and its people are Arab brothers, and whatever is happening there concerns us before any other nation. Unfortunately, regional and international states are looking into the Syrian issue whereas we Arabs are absent.”

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