The US Treasury Department issued exceptions and permits from the economic sanctions it imposed on some countries, including Syria, for what it said guaranteed the provision of humanitarian and commercial assistance to those countries to combat the emerging corona virus (Covid 19).
According to a document that includes a list of exceptions issued by the ministry and viewed by the “economist”, this step was taken so that economic sanctions do not limit Syria’s ability to receive humanitarian support from the international community including test equipment, respirators, personal protection equipment, and drugs used in prevention, and the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of Coronavirus, as she put it.
The exceptions to Syria stipulated that exporting or re-exporting American and non-American food, medicine, and medical devices to Syria, so that American materials do not need a commercial license or permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The exceptions also included that the OFAC allow American depository institutions, including banks and money transfer devices registered in the United States, to process personal and non-commercial financial transfers from or to Syria.
The office stipulated that the funds be allowed to be transferred, not to take place through the Syrian government channels or any party or person that the Foreign Assets Control Office prohibits dealing with.
The US Treasury department allowed Syrian NGOs to provide specific services to support non-profit activities such as (humanitarian projects that meet basic human needs, projects supporting education, non-commercial grassroots development projects, and activities to support the preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites).
Exceptions permitted the services provided through certain international organizations and made available permits for transactions and official activities that assist the work of the United Nations, its programs and funds and related organizations and their personnel.
In its document, the Ministry emphasized that if individuals, governments, or entities face humanitarian challenges related to sanctions, or have questions related to providing humanitarian assistance to countries subject to sanctions, or believe that additional permits are needed, the Foreign Assets Control Office is ready to provide guidance and respond to requests Obtain specific licenses.
Exceptions and permits from the sanctions extended to several countries, including: Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Ukraine and Russia.
Recently, Syria called on the international community to work to immediately and unconditionally lift unilateral coercive measures, respect the principles of international humanitarian law, and the sanctity of human life, especially in the circumstances of the spread of the Coronavirus.
And in December last year, the US Senate passed a law that increases economic sanctions on Syria within the approval of a defense spending budget of $ 738 billion, in what is known as the Caesar Law, and days later US President Donald Trump signed the law According to the tweet of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter.
According to the law, new penalties are imposed on any person or entity that deals with the Syrian government, provides it with financing, or deals with government banks, including the “Central Bank of Syria”.
At the beginning of this April, the European Union Commissioner for Foreign Policy, Joseph Burrell, said that the Union is working on drafting a joint statement to support the call of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to reduce economic sanctions imposed on some countries, including Syria, in light of Coronavirus pandemic.