Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in July 17 for his fourth seven-year presidential term after winning more than 95.1% of the votes in democratically dubious elections held May 26. The United States and the European Union do not recognize the outcome of the elections. However, there are those in Europe who do. Among them is Serbia, an EU membership candidate that intends to send an ambassador to Damascus, although the name of the new ambassador has not been disclosed.
The EU reacted to the Serbian move. EU spokesman Peter Stano stated, “The EU’s position regarding the normalization of relations with the regime in Syria is clear and unchanged, and the recent elections organized by the Syrian regime cannot lead to international normalization."