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US vice president top agenda is Syria during his UAE visit

US vice president Joe Biden will visit the UAE this weekend to meet the country’s leaders in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Mr Biden and his wife, Jill, will fly from Washington to the UAE on Saturday then travel to Jerusalem and to Ramallah in the West Bank for meetings on Tuesday with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president Reuven Rivlin, and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

His final stop will be in Amman, where he will meet King Abdullah II to discuss ISIL and the civil war in Syria. He is also expected to visit a US-Jordanian military training camp.

Analysts said the vice president’s trip comes at an “interesting” time, with the administration of president Barack Obama nearing the end of its term.

“It will probably choose to leave any important decisions for the incoming leadership,” said Sabahat Khan, senior analyst at the Dubai-based think tank Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“However, the regional situation is evolving rapidly and almost all of America’s regional allies are upset with Washington’s positions on a range of regional issues, especially the Syrian civil war.”

Mr Khan said he anticipated Syria will be the focus of discussions as it ties many other issues such as Iran, Hizbollah and ISIL. “Undoubtedly, Biden will hear complaints and get a pulse on the ground before he returns to Washington,” Mr Khan said. “All of this might prove useful in pressing the US to expand and speed up military support and better balance its diplomatic efforts with Russia, because the perception is that its Plan A and B for Syria failed some time back and Plan C is failing now as well.”

Last month, the UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, described the Syrian conflict as “the only game in town” with no other strategy in sight.

“Biden’s greatest interest is foreign policy,” said Dr Albadr Al Shateri, adjunct professor at the National Defence College.





Courtesy, The National


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