EU spokesman Luis Miguel Bueno said that the European Union believes that conditions for the safe return of Syrian refugees have not yet been achieved. He stressed that the EU maintains its existing policy toward refugees to ensure their protection on European territory.
“European sanctions against the Syrian regime have isolated the regime internationally; maintenance of the sanctions list occurs periodically in line with developments on the ground,” Bueno said in an exclusive interview with Syria TV.
The European diplomat noted that Russia had deployed the same military tactics in Ukraine used in Syria to achieve its interests without regard to civilians and public infrastructure.
“The European Union urges restraint,” Bueno said. “Turkey’s security concerns should be addressed through political and diplomatic means, not military action.”
On Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, Bueno said that Turkey is “a major EU partner and a critical player in both the Syrian crisis and the region.” He urged the EU to “show restraint,” stating: “Turkey’s security concerns should be addressed through political and diplomatic means, not military action, per international humanitarian law.”
Bueno said the EU’s position on the return of refugees to Syria has not changed. The European Union supports the work and current assessment of UNHCR, which has a clear mandate to protect refugees and support sustainable solutions to their cause. These options include voluntary repatriation, where appropriate.
“All Syrians are entitled to return to their homes. But we consider, based on UNHCR’s assessment, that these conditions have not yet been met. What is needed first is to create conditions for a safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons, per international law and the principle of non-refoulment. The EU will support UN-facilitated returns in due course when the necessary conditions are in place.”
On Britain’s recent immigration law, which includes sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, Bueno said: “We cannot speak on behalf of the UK as it is not a member state of the EU. But I guarantee you that the European Union’s asylum policy has not changed. The European Union is a region that protects persons fleeing persecution or serious harm in their countries of origin. Asylum is a fundamental right and an international commitment to countries, as recognized in the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugee protection.”
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.