The United States rules out the possibility of normalizing relations with Syria’s Bashar Assad or lifting sanctions imposed on Damascus until there is progress in the political process of the war-torn country, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
Blinken’s comments come as some Arab countries recently began improving relations with the Syrian regime. Assad and King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke over the phone last week for the first time since Syria’s conflict began in March 2011. The regime’s defense minister last month visited Jordan and met with Jordanian military officials.
The Syrian regime was also invited to take part in Dubai’s Expo 2020, the first world fair in the Middle East. Crisis-hit Lebanon is working on getting electricity from Jordan through Syria and a decade-old deal to transport Egyptian natural gas through Jordan and Syria to Lebanon was also revived in September.
Blinken spoke during a joint news conference in Washington with the foreign ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“What we’ve not done and we do not intend to do is to express any support for efforts to normalize relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad or lift a single sanction on Syria or change our positions to oppose the reconstruction of Syria,” Blinken said in Washington when asked whether the U.S. endorses that some Arab countries are resuming normal ties with Assad’s regime.
He said this policy will not change “until there is irreversible progress toward a political solution, which we believe is necessary and vital.”
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.