US criticizes Arab League readmission of Assad’s Syria

The United States on Monday criticized the Arab League decision to readmit Syria, saying that President Bashar al-Assad does not deserve normalization after the brutal civil war.

“We do not believe that Syria merits readmission to the Arab League at this time,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

“We continue to believe that we will not normalize our relations with the Assad regime and we don’t support our allies and partners doing so either,” he said.

The United States has repeatedly voiced opposition to reconciliation with Syria and domestic law forbids any assistance for reconstruction without accountability for abuses during the war.

But the Arab League voted Sunday to welcome back Syria, effectively concluding that Assad had won the war that has killed half a million people and displaced half the pre-war population since 2011.

Patel, however, played down the disagreements and said that the United States shared common objectives with many its Arab partners on Syria.

“We share a number of the same goals with our Arab partners with respect to Syria, including reaching a solution to the Syrian crisis that is consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” Patel said, referring to the 2015 international bid that set out a roadmap for a political transition.

He said that the United States would also work with Arab partners on expanding humanitarian access to Syrians and on supporting stability to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State extremist group.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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