Intelligence Online: Secret diplomacy efforts helping Syria president to pressure the Europeans to lift sanctions against Syria
On Monday, the French intelligence service revealed on its Intelligence Online website that there are secret diplomacy helps Syrian President Bashar al Assad by pressuring the European Union to lift the sanctions imposed on him, noting that European officials are communicating with him and refuse to punish him.
Intelligence Online website said that it believes that the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union issued on March 8, 2023, to cancel the sanctions imposed on the Syrian businessman who is alleged to be linked to the Syrian government, Nizar al Asaad, “will encourage Damascus in its attempts to persuade other European bodies to lift their sanctions imposed on the country itself “.
The Intelligence Online website mentioned the name of Vincent Piessevaux, who is a jurist who left his work related to European Union sanctions in the Council of the European Union in late 2022.
The Intelligence Online report indicated that Piessevaux made an unofficial visit to Damascus in October 2022 to meet with prominent local figures.
He was photographed and posted on Twitter standing next to Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, who expresses his opposition to EU sanctions on Syria whenever he visits Europe.
The patriarch also sent letters denouncing these sanctions to the French and US presidents, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden, in early 2021.
According to Intelligence Online, Piessevaux is no stranger to Syrian affairs, but he was appointed after that to a new position unrelated to the sanctions.
In his last reports that he prepared for the council before his departure.
Piessevaux gradually began writing in favor of re-evaluating the sanctions policy on Syria, in cooperation with the banking sector.
Vincent Piessevaux also met without the knowledge of his superiors in the Council, it seems, with the Chargé d’Affairs of the Austrian Embassy in Syria, Peter Krois, while he was in Damascus.
The Austrian official showed a tendency to oppose EU sanctions on Syria, contrary to the official position of Vienna, and until 2020, he was the Austrian delegate to the Mashriq-Maghreb Working Group of the Council of the European Union that oversees decisions related to sanctions along with the European External Action Service.
Piessevaux isn’t the only European official trying to persuade the European Union to re-evaluate its sanctions policy.
According to Intelligence Online, Member of the European Parliament Thierry Mariani, head of the European Parliamentary Group of Christians from the Middle East and a frequent visitor to Damascus, criticized the European Union more than once in this regard.
And while the controversy over sanctions against Syria continues, the Syrian leadership is trying to reintegrate it into the Arab region, and these efforts go hand in hand with Damascus’ aspirations to restore its relations with the West, which has so far refused to normalize relations with it.