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04 January 2019 - 19:05
News ID: 442826
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The British government is reportedly renovating its embassy building in Damascus as the likelihood of reopening the UK diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital is quite high, media sources reported.

The Arabic-language Rai al-Youm quoted informed sources as saying that the renovation process of the UK embassy in Damascus has begun on Thursday.

The sources pointed to the presence of an interior renovation team in Damascus, and said that the embassy is preparing for reopening in the near future.

In a relevant development in late December, as Arab states had rushed to resume ties with Damascus, former Britain's Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said "Washington is not powerful enough to block restoration of Arab states' diplomatic relations" with Syria.

The restoration of relations between Damascus and Europe is a matter of time, Ford said in a phone interview with al-Mayadeen TV, noting that it is about time for Syria to return to the Arab League, following years of suspension of its membership.

Ford stressed that it's about time to restore normal relations with Damascus, stating that "we will witness the return of the British and French ambassadors to Damascus possibly next year".

The former diplomat added that the "European return to Syria will be without conditions".

He acknowledged that "there is no benefit in continuing Arab enmity toward Syria and the Arab countries realize this conviction".

As for Saudi Arabia, which is one of the main militants' backers, Ford stated that the kingdom has taken a decision a while ago about the gradual normalization of relations with Syria.

Ford's remarks came after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially reopened its embassy in Damascus on Thursday after a seven-year break, making it the first Arab embassy to start working again in Syria after closing as a result of the war.

According to Fars News Agancy, the UAE closed its embassy soon after the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, and Abu Dhabi was long considered a sponsor of the many militant groups that poured into the Arab country from across the region and beyond to fight to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Bahrain had also announced that it will resume operations at its embassy in Syria amid new efforts by Persian Gulf states to improve relations with Damascus as the war against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists winds down. Manama decided to shut down its embassy in Damascus and to withdraw all diplomats and staff in mid-March 2012.

Also, the Arab League is set to meet in Tunisia in March, with member state Egypt calling for Syria to be reinstated and the secretary-general, veteran Egyptian diplomat Ahmed Aboul Gheit, saying in April that the decision to suspend Syria had been "hasty". Syria was expelled from the 22-member Arab League in 2011, and Arab countries have sanctioned Damascus.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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Tags: UK Syria Damascus
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