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Egypt tests economic outreach to Syria through labor unions

Cairo looks to labor unions to strengthen ties with Damascus .
(L to R) Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati, Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek el-Molla, Lebanon's Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar and Syria's Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohme give a joint press conference during their meeting, Amman, Jordan, Sept. 8, 2021.

Egypt, along with the UAE and other Arab states, has begun to test the possibilities of engagement with Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, once ostracized by Arab capitals, seems to have weathered the eleven year civil war. Many Arab countries believe that there needs to be an Arab counterweight to Iranian influence in Damascus.

The US is opposed to any reconciliation with the Syrian government. Egypt is seeking “proper clearance” from the Biden administration so that it can supply natural gas to energy-starved Lebanon without exposing itself to sanctions targeting the Syrian government and its benefactors, Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek Al- Mulla told Al-Monitor during a visit to Washington last month. 

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