EU considers lifting restrictions on Assad, reiterates support for Syrian opposition

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (right) presented the new EU strategy for Syria on Wednesday.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini presented the new EU strategy for Syria on Wednesday. Mogherini stressed the importance of post-conflict planning as well as working with Syria’s neighbouring countries.

“Too many times the international community has not prepared the post-conflict period in time. This time we want to be ready,” Mogherini told reporters at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The High Representative and Italian national expressed the need to turn “a proxy-war into a proxy-peace.”

An EU Joint Communication, released on Tuesday, said it recognises the importance of the Geneva and Astana meetings while adding that “The EU will coordinate closely with other donors and Syrian stakeholders, including the Syrian interim Government to ensure harmonised and complementary approaches within and across different sectors.”

The Syrian interim Government was created in 2013 by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces headed by Anas al-Abdah. The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the Bashar al-Assad government and unifying and supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The National Coalition does not include the umbrella-organisations of the de-facto autonomous Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava).

The EU Communication does, however, consider lifting restrictive measures on the Syrian Government under Bashar al-Assad in order to resume bilateral cooperation relations with Damascus.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) could take the lead in a macroeconomic stabilisation effort in a post-conflict scenario and in conjunction with the World Bank, according to the Joint Communication.