President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree appointing Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. According to the decree, Ambassador Sabbagh, who currently holds the position of Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations in New York, will be transferred from his current role at the permanent delegation in New York to the central administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants. Subsequently, he will assume the role of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants. This transition, along with the necessary travel arrangements, is expected to be completed within a span of two months from the issuance date of the decree.
Ambassador Sabbagh took over the position of Syria’s representative to the United Nations in November 2020, succeeding Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari. Prior to this, Ambassador al-Jaafari was designated Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates before subsequently becoming Syria’s ambassador to the Russian Federation.
Hailing from Aleppo, Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh holds a degree in political science and boasts an extensive diplomatic career. He has previously served as the Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic to Austria and acted as the Permanent Representative to various United Nations offices and international organizations in Vienna since 2010. Furthermore, his diplomatic tenure encompassed key roles such as Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague starting in 2013. In addition, he has held positions such as Director of the Department of the Private Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2010, Counselor to the Permanent Mission in New York from 2001 to 2006, and diplomat at the Syrian Embassy in Washington from 1995 to 2000.
Comment by the Syrian Observer
In Syria, it is customary for the Foreign Deputy Minister to assume the role of the Minister in the event of the retirement or passing of the incumbent. This transition took place when Walid al-Mouallem succeeded Farouk Sharaa, after serving as the Deputy Minister. Similarly, Faisal al-Mekdad assumed the position of Minister after being Mouallem’s deputy. Through this strategic maneuver, President Assad effectively neutralized Bashar Jaafari, who had the backing of Iran, and who was a rival to Bassam Sabbagh. Jaafari occupied the position of Deputy Minister before he was alienated and sent to Moscow as Ambassador. However, sources tell us that he has not given up on regaining his position.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.