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Western Donors Demand Presidential Elections Before Syrian Reconstruction

In documents sent to the UN Secretary-General, Western states have said that they will not provide reconstruction aid until UN-supervised elections are conducted reports Asharq al-Awsat.
Western Donors Demand Presidential Elections Before Syrian Reconstruction

Western and regional donor states have refused to take part in the reconstruction of Syria before the launch of a UN-led political process that would lead to a genuine and irreversible political transition in the country.

The conditions were listed in documents sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by the foreign ministers of the donor states, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Asharq Al-Awsat learned on Sunday.

Representatives of the nine states and the European Union rejected Moscow’s efforts to speed up the reconstruction of Syria, and instead supported the UN position, which calls on its agencies operating in the war-torn country and on the international community not to deal with parties “involved in war crimes.”

A two-page European document reiterated the position of Western states, saying there will be no international reconstruction aid in regime-held areas, if there was no credible political process that leads to constitutional reform and UN-supervised elections that satisfy potential donor countries.

It also stressed the need to prioritize assistance to the Syrian people, with a focus on the requirements of vulnerable groups and individuals in a just, unpoliticized and unbiased way.

The document also said donor states should deal directly with local communities and families to offer UN assistance anywhere in Syria.

Separately, the families of the hostages taken by the Islamic State in the southwestern province of Suweida protested on Sunday for the release of their relatives.

However, it remained certain that their freedom is linked to the payment of a ransom for each of the 27 hostages, who were abducted from Suweida in late July during the deadliest attack on Syria's Druze community in the seven-year civil war.

Druze opposition sources in Suweida held the Syrian regime and figures that back Bashar al-Assad responsible for the hostage-taking.

The sources added that among those figures is an Israeli, who resides in Israel.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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