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Foreign Ministry: EU Decision Allowing Oil Transactions with ‘Opposition’ Contradicts the Principle of Non-interference

The government on Tuesday responded to the European Union decision to ease the oil embargo on Syria with the aim of helping rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Foreign Ministry: EU Decision Allowing Oil Transactions with ‘Opposition’ Contradicts the Principle of Non-interference

Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Tuesday said the EU decision to allow importing Syrian oil and its derivatives and investing in Syrian oil industry through exclusive transactions with the so-called 'opposition coalition' violates the principle of non-interference in the countries' affairs.


In two identical letters addressed to the UN Security Council President and the UN Secretary General, the Ministry dismissed as "an unprecedented step" the EU adoption of a decision on April 22 allowing member countries to conduct transactions in oil import, oil and gas industry equipment and technology export and investment in oil industry in Syria exclusively with the so-called 'opposition coalition' under the pretext of "helping the civilian population and the opposition".


The Ministry slammed the EU which is involved in the continued political and economic campaign targeting the national economy and the daily life of Syrian citizens.


It said the EU did not feel content with the package of unilateral economic sanctions it earlier imposed on Syria as it has now resorted to a new step that "contradicts in its international legal framework with the principle of non-interference approved by the UN Charter in article 2 and the principles of sovereignty and the peoples' right to choose their political and economic systems without foreign interference."


The letters added that the decision also goes against the UN General Assembly declaration in 1962 on "Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources" which stresses the full right of every country to its natural resources and the respect of the economic respect of countries.


The Ministry continued as saying that the EU decision is also incompatible with the General Assembly declaration in 1981 on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States which provides for the inadmissibility of any direct or indirect engagement in supporting insurgency activities inside other states under whatever pretext or taking measures that target the unity of other states or undermine and sabotage the regime in them.


It added that the EU decision also violates the General Assembly declaration in 1970 on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States.


The Ministry reiterated that the sanctions which the EU imposed on Syria since the beginning of the crisis are "illegal" and "illegitimate" resulted in nothing but increasing the suffering of the Syrian people who are already subject to the practices of the armed terrorist groups particularly in terms of vandalizing the main infrastructures and destroying the pillars of the national economy, of which the oil sector is an essential one.


"Neither the EU nor any other party has the right to take any measures that would affect the states' sovereign rights over their national resources," said the letters.


The Ministry lashed out at the EU countries for "having gone even beyond that to allow the possibility of investing these resources in favor of one group that claims to be an opposition and represent the Syrian people while it actually represents no one but its masters and their interests that are connected to foreign sides."


The letters reiterated that the EU decision is "illegal" and "amounts to an act of aggression" according to the Definition of Aggression adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 3314 of 1974.


They added that the decision also constitutes "a participation in stealing resources that belong to the Syrian people, the only ones with authority over these resources represented by their standing legitimate government. "


"Accordingly," the letters added, " Syria demands that the Security Council take necessary measures to prevent the implementation of this illegitimate decision that contradicts with the rules of international law and the UN Charter."


The Ministry reiterated that the EU decision also violates the countries' commitments to refrain from supporting terrorism as it aims to provide support for the armed terrorist groups that are linked to Jabhat al-Nusra, which is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.


It affirmed that "Syria will practice its natural right to take the necessary measures to maintain its sovereignty over its natural resources in the face of the attempts of piracy and looting."






European Union foreign ministers on Monday eased an oil embargo against Syria with the aim of helping rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.


Under the deal, European firms seeking to import Syrian crude or invest in the energy sector would ask for authorization from their government, which in turn would confer with Syria’s opposition National Coalition to secure its agreement.


“With a view to helping the Syrian civilian population… a member state may authorize the purchase, import or transport from Syria of crude oil and petroleum products,” but only after consulting with the Syrian opposition, a statement said.


“Anything that can help more resources to be available to people affected by the crisis of course is welcome,” EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva, told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting.


Buying Syrian crude will be complicated, because of security concerns and battered infrastructure, but officials said more financial help would be offered.


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