WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s “general license” related to Syria. The move undermines longstanding U.S. policy under both Republican and Democrat administrations, including this administration’s comments this week.
“The Biden Administration’s decision to authorize direct transactions with the Assad regime in the name of humanitarian relief is a slap in the face to the Syrian people. Syria is entering its twelfth year of a humanitarian crisis that was created by the Assad regime, in conjunction with its Russian and Iranian backers. Syria sanctions have long included exemptions for humanitarian work that have enabled humanitarian groups to operate for years. This authorization for direct transactions with the Assad regime is not only unnecessary, it opens the door to the regime pilfering aid and will be abused to create a pathway for normalizing relations with the Assad regime. Additionally, this license certainly doesn’t need to last for six months, when other disaster relief licenses usually only last a few weeks. The Syrian people are in desperate need of help – we should not be lining the pockets of their persecutors.”