The top diplomats from the US and Qatar met in Washington on Friday, saying they were not considering normalizing relations with Syria’s government for the time being.
“We don’t support normalization, and again, we would emphasize to our friends and partners to consider the signals that they’re sending,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a joint press conference with Qatar’s Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani.
Both diplomats were asked their position after Tuesday’s visit to Damascus by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
On Friday, Blinken said he was “concerned about the signals that some of these visits and engagements” were sending.
“And I would simply urge all of our partners to remember the crimes that the Assad regime has committed and indeed continues to commit,” he added.
For his part, the Qatari FM said normalizing ties with the Assad regime was not a step Doha was considering “right now.”
“We believe that all the crimes he has committed against his own people, he needs to be held accountable. But also, we support the political resolution and political transition over there in a peaceful way with the support of the Security Council Resolution 2254,” he said.
But he stopped short of criticizing the decision by the UAE to re-engage with the Assad regime.
“They are making their decisions based on their own assessments and their own concern, and this is their sovereign right. We cannot criticize,” he said.
“It will be a wishful thinking to have all the countries in the regions united when it comes to the issue of Syria,” he added.
But Al-Thani said he hoped countries would be discouraged from normalizing ties with the Syrian regime “in order not to undermine the misery of the Syrian people who are – what they are under, what they are living in right now.”