Romanian Intelligence Chief Visits Syria, Meets Bashar al-Assad with a Message

Syria TV says the Romanian intelligence chief delivered a joint message from Romania, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy.

A European diplomatic source informed Syria TV on Wednesday that the Romanian intelligence chief recently met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian intelligence director Hossam Luka in Syria.

According to the source, who requested anonymity, the Romanian intelligence chief delivered a joint message from Romania, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. This message conveyed these countries’ intention to re-establish contact with the Assad regime, motivated by concerns over refugee influxes and terrorism.

The source emphasized that these nations believe they have no alternative but to engage with the Assad regime. The exact timing of the visit was not disclosed, though it occurred within the last few days.

This move is part of broader efforts by some European countries to re-engage with the Assad regime outside the official EU framework, which maintains an anti-Assad stance and upholds UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Two years ago, Foreign Policy magazine reported growing dissent within the EU regarding its policy towards Syria, suggesting that changes were happening quietly behind the scenes.

Countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland have reportedly shifted their positions within the EU to advocate for policies more favourable to the Syrian regime. Furthermore, these nations have formed specialist groups to explore ways to circumvent EU sanctions against Syria, aiming to increase their support for the regime.

Additionally, last week Danish Immigration Minister Kaare Dybvad and Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan endorsed the Cypriot initiative to reevaluate “safe zones” in Syria for the repatriation of refugees. This initiative, presented by Cyprus’s Interior Minister Konstantinos Ioannou, involves forming a coalition of EU states focused on the external aspects of migration, with particular attention to Syria. This proposal will be presented to the European Commission.

Earlier, in December 2023, Cyprus urged the EU to designate certain regions in Syria, such as Damascus and Tartous, as safe zones for returning refugees. In February of the same year, Greece proposed a series of discussions on Syria, led by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, inviting ambassadors and envoys accredited to Greece to participate.

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