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EU sets Syria conditions for post-war reconstruction funding Open in fullscreen

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EU sets Syria conditions for post-war reconstruction funding

Syria's war may soon be over with the fall of eastern Aleppo [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2016

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EU stipulates that post-war Syria must allow space for an opposition to President Bashar al-Assad if reconstruction funding is to be given.
The European Union will not contribute towards Syria's post-war reconstruction if Moscow and Damascus do not allow space for an opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a draft joint statement issued by international body's 28 leaders has said.

"The EU will provide support for Syria's reconstruction only once a credible political transition is firmly under way," the EU leaders are expected to announce on Thursday, according to the statement seen by Reuters.

The statement comes as Syrian and Russian forces are finishing their operations in eastern Aleppo, one on the last major bastions of opposition resistance to the Assad regime.

Even if the rebels are defeated after almost six years of war, the EU is sceptical of a lasting peace in Syria, with the possibility of years of guerrilla warfare looking like a real possibility, if the opposition is not given a role.

According to sources, this is the message that the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, has been delivering to Middle Eastern leaders in recent weeks.

"The EU would normally have a key role in reconstruction. But if they create this monster there, we just won't pay for it. It'll be their responsibility," one EU official told Reuters, referring to Damascus, Moscow and their allies in the war.

According to another internal document seen by the London-based news agency, the EU is insisting that post-war Syria have an "inclusive" political system that ensures "broad social representation".

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