With reference to the Brussels 5 conference organized by the European Union entitled “Support for the Future of Syria and the Region” to be held during the period 29-30/03/2021,
The embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Romania recalls that the Brussels Conference will be held for the fifth time without the participation of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and recognized by the United Nations as such. This fact shades a lot of doubt on the legitimacy of the conference and its outcome.
Moreover, since the Brussels 4 conference, the European Union instead of working with the Syrian Government to confront the terrorist atrocities that Syria is facing, and the economic difficulties which greatly affect the daily life of the Syrian people, especially while the whole world faces the challenges of a severe pandemic, it has rather automatically renewed unilateral restrictive measures without paying due regard to their adverse effects on the most vulnerable people in Syria, and their violation to the Charter of the United Nations and the International law.
Previous Brussels conferences called for supporting the Syrian people and providing all kinds of aid to them by allocating large financial resources and mobilizing countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations in order to achieve this support. However, the reality on the ground proves that the European Union imposes unilateral coercive measures on the Syrian people, which contradict international law, international humanitarian law and human rights law, and which undermines the alleged desired goals of all previous and of coming Brussels conferences.
The European Union has stated that unilateral coercive economic measures only target governments and officials and those associated with them, and they do not target neither citizens nor affect their livelihoods or the level of services they receive, such as food, medicines, and basic daily needs. The European Union has also defended these unilateral coercive economic measures, by claiming that they are exceptional in their nature and framework, and they don’t hinder the provision of medical, food and humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people;
In response to these inaccurate allegations, the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Romania reaffirms that those unilateral restrictive measures did in fact constituted negative impact on the Syrian people, especially during the time of the wide spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Syria, affecting various aspects of life in Syria, including and more precisely, these unilateral illegal coercive measures:
(a) directly impeding the effective functioning of key sectors of the economy, in particular energy, banking, health care, industrial, transportation and communications sectors. Moreover, they adversely affect internal and external trade and the local currency and cause increase in cost of all essential goods and services.
(b) These illegal measures also indirectly affect many activities in Syria, in particular education, direct investment as well as in development, and impede the country’s ability to fix essential infrastructure and attain economic and social development goals and objectives.
(c) These unilateral coercive measures affect the country’s ability to cooperate with or enter into contracts and work with any foreign party, including governments and private entities. These measures, by their nature, make it difficult for public and private entities to conclude contracts with the Syrian Government or any Syrian company or individual, because they have serious concerns about being subjected to financial and banking penalties or being blacklisted by the countries that are imposing these unilateral measures.
(d) For example, owing to these “punitive” and illegal measures, Syrian public and private medical entities have not been sufficiently able, for many years, to import or domestically manufacture medical equipment and develop modern medical technologies, nor have they been able to import sufficient amounts of medicines and medical items, because the coercive unilateral measures have had an especially harsh effect on the Syrian banking sector, most notably in relation to the execution of external transfers. Moreover, many medical and pharmaceutical companies refuse to do business and conclude contracts with public – and private-sector Syrian companies, because they fear that they will be subjected to the financial, banking and commercial sanctions imposed on any “third party” considered to have violated the economic blockade.
The continuality of imposing those measures by the European Union reflects a total disregard for the calls made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the High Commissioner for Human Rights calling for strengthening international solidarity and to initiate or suspend “punitive measures” to help countries confront the Covid-19 pandemic, which is a common threat to all countries and peoples without exception.
The Embassy recalls the conclusions of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the exercise of basic human rights, in his report following his mission to the Syrian Arab Republic in which he stated the following:
“Despite the efforts to implement so-called “smart” sanctions that allow for humanitarian exemptions, the current sanction regimes have contributed to the suffering of the Syrian people…”
Today, no party can deny that the insistence of the European Union to impose a suffocating economic blockade on the Syrian people and to hinder the launch of reconstruction and development process, threaten the course and credibility of the process. No one expects Syrian citizens to believe in the viability of any political process, while they are exposed every day to suffering in securing a livelihood and obtaining the required level of basic services, food, medicine, electricity, and water. The failure to achieve global collective solidarity, in parallel with the economic, social and humanitarian impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, will raise justified doubts about the effectiveness or existence of a world pluralism system. There is no doubt that the continued imposition of unilateral coercive measures runs contrary to building a global collective solidarity.
The Syrian Arab Republic reaffirms that all unilateral coercive economic measures that has been imposed on Syria are totally illegal and should be lifted immediately and unconditionally, including those related to the banking, air and maritime transport, communications, energy and oil sectors, so as to allow the free flow of medical supplies and equipment without any restrictions, in particular, to strengthen the ability of Syria to respond to this pandemic.
European Union calls for promoting the rule of law, and to adopt multilateral diplomacy. These calls can’t receive credible attention while the EU ignores the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and tries to impose its own political reality on other nations, inter alia, by adding new names of Syrian officials joining the Syrian Government, to its list of the illegal measures it imposes on Syria, instead of engaging in constructive dialogue with its legitimate Government.