US doesn’t assist normalising ties with Syria, Blinken says

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned the US place won’t change till there’s ‘irreversible progress towards a political solution’.

The United States doesn’t intend to assist any efforts to normalise ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or rehabilitate him till there’s irreversible progress in direction of a political resolution in Syria, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mentioned.

Blinken’s feedback at a information convention on Wednesday got here at a time when a shift was underneath manner within the Middle East among the many Arab allies of the US, who’re bringing al-Assad in from the chilly by reviving financial and diplomatic ties.

Jordan, a staunch US ally, absolutely reopened its major border crossing with Syria in late September, to spice up the nations’ struggling economies and reinforce a push by Arab states to reintegrate Syria after shunning it throughout the Syrian struggle.

Jordan’s King Abdullah additionally spoke to al-Assad for the first time in a decade this month whereas the Egyptian and Syrian overseas ministers met final month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in what Egyptian media mentioned was the primary assembly at that stage for a couple of decade.

Similarly, the United Arab Emirates’ economic system ministry mentioned on Sunday that the Gulf state and Syria had agreed on future plans to boost financial cooperation and discover new sectors.

The UAE additionally reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018 – and earlier this 12 months, mentioned sweeping US sanctions imposed on Syria made it tougher for the war-torn nation to return to the Arab League.

“What we have not done and what we do not intend to do is to express any support for efforts to normalise relations or rehabilitate Mr Assad or lifted a single sanction on Syria or changed our position to oppose the reconstruction of Syria, until there is irreversible progress towards a political solution, which we believe is necessary and vital,” Blinken mentioned.

The US has suspended its diplomatic presence in Syria since 2012.

Blinken mentioned within the 9 months since President Joe Biden took workplace on January 20, Washington has centered on increasing humanitarian entry to Syria, sustaining the marketing campaign in opposition to the ISIL (ISIS) group and making clear the US dedication to demand accountability from al-Assad’s authorities.

Under Washington’s Ceasar Act handed final 12 months, the US has tried to forestall any reconstruction efforts or commerce offers from being made with out first enacting human rights reforms.

But Syria has not been a overseas coverage precedence for the Biden administration, analysts famous, as Washington has largely focused on countering China. The administration has but to use sanctions underneath the Caesar Act.

“As we’re moving forward in the time ahead, keeping violence down, increasing humanitarian assistance, and focusing our military efforts on any terrorist groups that pose a threat to us or to our partners … These are going to be critical areas of focus for us,” Blinken mentioned.

The struggle in Syria killed at the least 350,000 individuals, in response to the UN. The battle, which began as a mass rebellion in opposition to al-Assad’s rule in March 2011, rapidly morphed right into a full-fledged struggle and sparked the world’s largest refugee disaster.

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