Manama: Bahrain’s foreign ministry has announced that work is continuing at its embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus and that air flights have continued without any interruption between the two countries.

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the ministry stressed “Bahrain’s keenness on continuing relations with Syria, underscoring the importance of consolidating the Arab role in order to maintain Syrian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

It also underlined the importance of activating the pan-Arab role to prevent any regional interference in its internal affairs, which would consolidate security and stability in Syria and achieve the Syrian people’s ambitions for peace, development and progress, the statement.

In October, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said serious action was needed to restore the Arab role in the Syrian crisis.

“The Arab stance is going through positive changes to ensure Arab action and activities on the Syrian issue,” he said. “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.”

Earlier on Thursday, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced the resumption of diplomatic service at the UAE embassy in Damascus and said that the Charge d’Affaires at the diplomatic mission had begun discharging his duty.

The move underscores the UAE government’s keenness to restore relations between the two brotherly countries to their normal course, thus enhancing and implementing the Arab role in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the ministry said.

“This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs,” the ministry said, adding that the UAE wished that peace, security and stability would prevail throughout Syria.

“The UAE decision to resume its political and diplomatic work in Damascus comes after a careful reading of developments,” Anwar Gargash, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, tweeted. “It is based on the conviction that the next phase requires Arab presence and communication on the Syrian situation in the interest of Syria, its people, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Gargash added that the Arab role in Syria has become more crucial with regard to the growing regional influences of Iran and Turkey.

“The UAE, through its presence in Damascus today, seeks to activate this role and to ensure the Arab options are present and contribute positively towards ending the war and enhancing the chances of peace and stability for the Syrian people,” he said.

Syrian plane lands in Tunisia

Meanwhile, in the Tunisian coastal city of Monastir, a plane from Syria’s private Sham Wings made the first flight between the two countries in eight years.

Sources in Tunisia said the flight, carrying 150 passengers, was organised by civil societies in Tunisia and Syria and was approved by Tunisian President Beji Qaid Al Sebsi, indicating that relations between the two countries would soon resume.

Earlier this month, Sudanese President Omar Al Basheer became the first Arab leader to visit Damascus since Syria was expelled from the Arab League.