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Syrian Businessman on US Sanctions List Hosted by UAE

This Jan. 20, 2019 picture made available by the Emirates News Agency, WAM, shows Syrian businessman and lawmaker Mohammed Hamsho, second left, at a trade forum launched Sunday, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates has hosted a Syrian trade delegation led by a businessman and lawmaker on the U.S. Treasury sanctions list since the country's civil war erupted in 2011.

The high-profile meeting comes weeks after the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus for the first time in seven years — a break with its US ally which shuns restoring ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

The UAE's state-run WAM news agency said the private sector forum launched Sunday in Abu Dhabi is to ``enhance'' commercial ties between Emirati and Syrian businessmen.

WAM said Mohammed Hamsho led the Syrian delegation.

Hamsho is on the sanctions list for supporting Assad and his brother, Maher Assad.

Emirati and U.S. officials didn't immediately respond to request for comment.