Ethan Goldrich, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, with responsibility for the Levant and Syria engagement, reaffirmed that the U.S. position on normalizing ties with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has not changed.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Goldrich called for focusing on holding the regime accountable for the horrors it committed. He highlighted the importance of UN Security Council resolution 2254 in guaranteeing the future stability of Syria.
He said the U.S. has not and will not support any effort to normalize relations with the regime or rehabilitate it, adding that sanctions against it are still in place.
Washington continues to impose new, targeted sanctions on the regime to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and the Caesar Act, Goldrich told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The official urged all states, especially those considering the association with the Assad regime, to pay close attention to the atrocities committed against the Syrian people over the past decade, including chemical weapons attacks and the forced disappearance and imprisonment of more than 100,000 men, women, and children.
He urged a continued focus on accountability.
When it comes to finding a political solution for the Syrian people, after more than a decade of war, the Assad regime has undoubtedly been the biggest obstacle to progress on that path, noted the official.
Affirming that the U.S. remains firmly committed to finding a political solution for the conflict in Syria, Goldrich said that Washington believes that the process outlined in Security Council Resolution 2254 remains the most viable path to ensuring future stability in Syria.
He said the U.S. strongly supports the efforts of UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen to bring Syrians together.
The U.S. will continue to work with the UN, its allies, the Syrian opposition, and its international partners to ensure Syria’s stability in the future, Goldrich pledged.
Regarding Lebanon, Goldrich said that the situation there calls for “concern,” pointing out to helping the Lebanese people in a way that fits U.S. law.
The U.S. official also noted that Iranian presence destabilizes Syria and Lebanon and that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group works to embolden Tehran’s malign agenda.
Goldrich had just concluded a tour that saw him visiting several countries in the region to promote a collaborative approach to resolving the Syrian conflict and encourage creative ways to implement UNSC resolution 2254.
This article was 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.