Casey calls for creation of special envoy for Syria

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel on the Near East on Thursday called for the creation of a special envoy to Syria who would be charged with coordinating U.S. policy and efforts to achieve a democratic transition.

Sen. Bob Casey Jr.'s (D-Pa.) Syria Humanitarian and Democratic Transition Act would also encourage the Obama administration to work with regional allies to secure weapons stockpiles, increase funding for humanitarian assistance and authorize bilateral assistance to Syria to support “institutional capacity building, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, resettlement of internally displaced persons and refugees and humanitarian and development activities.”

“My legislation will strengthen U.S. efforts to provide relief to the Syrian people and to refugees who have left the country,” Casey said in a statement. “Stability in this region is critical to U.S. interests and the U.S. must focus on both the current tragedy in today’s Syria as well as the significant challenges that will come with a political transition. This bill also calls upon the State Department to begin planning to address the challenges inherent to a post-Assad Syria, including the disposition of Syria’s chemical weapons and the demobilization of armed groups.”