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Amid their growing distance from western powers, Gulf states have continued to try and maintain a neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis. However, a weakened Russia could lead to the GCC powers stepping up their outreach to the pariah state of President Bashar Al-Assad’s Syria. That engagement has been energetically driven by the UAE, whose foreign affairs and international co-operation minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited the Syrian capital in November for talks with Assad.