Suspend EU accreditation of Syrian diplomats

Letter to HR/VP Mogherni

Brussels, January 25th 2019 


Dear High Representative, Dear Federica,  

At the end of 2012, the EU closed its delegation in Syria and moved the majority of its operations to Beirut. A functioning office remains open in Damascus, but to deliver vital humanitarian assistance to those in need in Syria, diplomats and officials regularly have to travel to Syria from Beirut.  

It was reported this week that the Assad regime recently rescinded the special permission needed for EU diplomats and official to travel to Syria on a multiple entry visa. This makes travel to the country excessively difficult. More importantly however, it shows how Assad and his accomplices are trying to create leverage over the EU to reopen its official delegation in the Syrian capital.

In the midst of the harmful withdrawal of the United States from Syria, the rapprochement between Damascus and a number of Arab states including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Europe can and must not let itself be pressured by a regime that has such a flagrant disregard for human life, rights and key principles of international law. As staunch defenders of human rights and international law, it is our duty to prevent the implicit and gradual legitimisation of Assad’s control over Syria, while bloodshed continues with impunity.  

Most member states declared the Syrian ambassadors in their countries persona non grata, but the Syrian embassy maintains a high diplomatic accreditation to the EU. While we understand that the Syrian embassy in Brussels was allowed to remain open to maintain reciprocity and to allow EU officials to conduct humanitarian work in Syria, the Assad regime has with these latest, coercing measures wiped whatever reciprocity was left of the table. We therefore call on you to undertake whatever measures are necessary to revoke the accreditation of the highest Syrian diplomat(s) accredited to the EU.  

Kind regards,

  • Marietje Schaake (ALDE)
  • Petras Austrevicius (ALDE)
  • Pascal Durand (Greens)
  • Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)
  • Beatriz Becerra (ALDE)
  • Pavel Telicka (ALDE)
  • Rebecca Harms (Greens) 
  • Jose Inacio Faria (EPP)
  • Michaela Šojdrová (EPP)
  • Tunne Kelam (EPP)
  • Tilly Metz (Greens) 
  • Julie Ward (S&D)
  • Ana Gomes (S&D)
  • Boris Zala (S&D)
  • Wajid Khan (S&D)
  • Ivo Vajgl (ALDE)
  • Sophie in 't Veld (ALDE)
  • Elena Valenciano (S&D)
  • Theresa Griffin (S&D)