The head of the European Union’s mission to Syria, Dan Stoenescu, revealed the reasons behind his visit to areas under the control of the Assad regime in September.
A European delegation visited three regime-controlled governorates, Aleppo, Homs and Hama. Stoenescu headed the delegation along with the UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Omran Reda. This visit was the first of its kind in nearly a decade.
The official Twitter account of the European Union in Syria stated that the visit comes with “rapidly rising needs in Syria.” It described that “the crisis is not over yet. It’s important to focus on early recovery and investments to avoid further deterioration.”
Justifications of the European Envoy
Stoenescu explained the reason for his visit, saying that “the EU has been conducting visits to Syria since 2012, and we are doing limited relations with the authorities there. This is not new.”
“It is normal for me to go there as a diplomatic man because I have to keep in touch for humanitarian reasons,” he said. He stressed that the delegation’s visit was for humanitarian reasons only.
He also saw his presence on the ground as important to “know the needs of citizens.” He noted that the projects implemented by the European Union in Syria are humanitarian projects that meet the requirements of the Syrian people and keep them alive, such as implementing projects to secure drinking water.
He described the economic situation as “the worst in Syria’s history,” with prices rising dramatically and a lack of fuel and electricity.
No normalization with the regime
“Everyone should know that there will be no normalization with the regime or the lifting of sanctions unless there is an inclusive political process within the framework of the United Nations,” he said.
He added that the delegation told the Syrian regime that there would be no reconstruction efforts in Syria by the European Union unless there were a political process under resolution 2254.
He stressed that the projects implemented by the European Union in Syria are not aimed at rehabilitating the regime but are humanitarian assistance such as repairing schools and streets and providing water.
He also reiterated the commitment of the EU, its partners, international organizations, and the United Nations that aid does not reach the regime.
For years, the EU has been imposing economic sanctions on institutions and figures affiliated with the Assad regime. Its officials have repeatedly asserted that there is no reconstruction in Syria without a political solution in accordance with Resolution 2254.
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.