Saudi Arabia and UAE Pressuring European Allies to Restore Diplomatic Relations with Syria

Saudi Arabia and UAE Pressuring European Allies to Restore Diplomatic Relations with Syria

Shafaq News/ In a bid to revive diplomatic ties with the Syrian government and alleviate sanctions, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are reportedly pressuring their European allies.

Informed sources told Bloomberg that Saudi and Emirati officials had pressured the European Union (E.U.) countries for several months. These officials contend that diplomatic efforts to end the long-standing conflict in Syria would no longer be feasible without easing sanctions to revive the collapsed Syrian economy.

The officials also highlighted the potential economic recovery's ability to attract millions of Syrian refugees back to their homeland, thus alleviating the burden on neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

While Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in France and set to meet President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, it remains uncertain whether the Syrian file will be part of their discussions. However, the French presidency announced that the talks would encompass Middle Eastern and international issues.

Official spokesmen for the Saudi and Emirati governments did not immediately respond to requests for comment, as reported by Bloomberg.

In contrast, major European Union countries, including France and Germany, have firmly ruled out restoring relations with Syria, citing the regime's alleged involvement in killing its own people.

The E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, speaking at a donor conference in Brussels on Thursday, stated that "the conditions are not conducive for the European Union to change its policy on Syria" without "real political reforms" within the country.

Borrell emphasized that the E.U. would maintain its sanctions against the Assad regime and only support Syrians' voluntary, safe, and internationally monitored return to their homeland.

The international isolation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has retained power with the support of allies Iran and Russia, saw some easing when he was welcomed back to the Arab League last month with the backing of Saudi Arabia.

The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in 2018, while Saudi Arabia resumed its relationship with the Syrian government last month.

Last month, the U.S. Department of State denounced Syria's readmission to the Arab League.

The Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, told Al-Hurra that the U.S. does not believe Syria deserves readmission. However, he added that the U.S. shares common goals with its Arab partners concerning Syria, including finding a solution to the conflict under Security Council Resolution 2254, expanding humanitarian access, ensuring stability to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, facilitating the safe return of refugees, releasing detainees, countering Iranian influence, and combatting Captagon smuggling from Syria.

Patel stressed that the U.S. has made it clear to its partners that it will adhere to the principles of its sanctions, and normalization with the Assad regime will not occur.

The United States continues to advocate for a political solution in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 as the only viable means to end the conflict, working alongside its allies, like-minded partners, and the United Nations towards its implementation.

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