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US Department of State to Asharq Al-Awsat: No Leniency in Enforcing ‘Caesar Act’

US Department of State to Asharq Al-Awsat: No Leniency in Enforcing ‘Caesar Act’

Thursday, 4 February, 2021 - 08:15
US Department of State sign - Reuters

The Biden administration is yet to reveal its policy on dealing with the Syrian crisis, but many believe that Washington will continue to implement the Caesar Act, which is US legislation that sanctions the Syrian government, until matters become more clear.

“No leniency will be shown in enforcing the Caesar Act,” a Department of State spokesperson told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that Washington will maintain diplomacy in working to facilitate humanitarian relief in Syria and finding a solution for peace in the war-torn Levantine country.

In 2019, the Caesar Act was passed under the Trump administration and was voted in by both the House of Representatives and Senate.

The new administration under President Joe Biden has taken upon itself commitment to applying the legislation without targeting trade or humanitarian aid work in Syria.

“Lebanon’s people and economy will not be targeted,” the spokesperson confirmed, quelling concerns of the sanctions affecting Syria’s neighbor.

“Certainly, the Caesar Act targets persons or entities that support the Assad regime and impede a peaceful political solution to the conflict, as called for by Security Council Resolution 2254,” they explained.

The spokesperson did not comment on the new appointments made at the Department of State. Media outlets have reported that David Brownstein will replace the former deputy Syria envoy under the Donald Trump administration, William Roebuck.

It is noteworthy that the Biden administration has also confirmed that it would not withdraw from Syria anytime soon, even for moral reasons.

Separately, State Department Spokesman Ned Price held his first press conference on Tuesday.

“When it comes to Syria, look, we will renew efforts to promote a political settlement to end Syria’s civil war in close consultations with our allies, our partners in the UN,” said Price.

“A political settlement must address the underlying causes that led to nearly a decade of civil war,” he explained.

“We will use the tools at our disposal including economic pressure to push for meaningful reform and accountability, and we’ll continue to support the UN’s role in negotiating a political settlement in line with UNSC resolution 2254.”

“We will also restore US leadership in providing humanitarian aid,” added Price.

“Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe, and we must do more to aid vulnerable Syrians displaced within Syria as well as refugees who have fled abroad,” he concluded.

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