The United States has pressed its Arab allies to put on hold their endeavours to renew the dialogue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed American officials.
The Donald Trump administration has reportedly warned that any attempts to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Syria would prompt Washington to impose sanctions in order to pressure Assad into accepting political reforms.
According to the newspaper, Washington’s concerns were triggered by the United Arab Emirates’ decision to reopen its embassy in Damascus after a “conviction that the next stage requires Arab presence and communication in the Syrian file”.
The move became a big step towards Syria’s rehabilitation by its Arab neighbours, who previously supported the opposition fighting against Assad.
“Many of those countries supported the anti-Assad rebellion and are confronting the reality that he is likely to remain in power for the foreseeable future”, the newspaper wrote.
In early March, Syria attended a meeting of Arab States in Amman for the first time since the war broke out in 2011, marking a major step towards Damascus’ post-conflict reintegration into the region.
In early February, a source familiar with the situation announced that at least eight Arab states wanted Syria to return to the Arab League, eight years after Damascus was kicked out from the regional bloc.
“At least eight members of the Arab League: Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are positively disposed towards the return of Syria to the Arab League”, the source claimed.
With the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, the 22-nation Arab League suspended Damascus’ membership.
A number of states decided to recall their ambassadors from crisis-torn Syria as well, but last year they began moving towards re-building a dialogue with Assad’s government and reopened embassies in what was widely viewed as a bid to help Syria reintegrate.