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Europe

European Union to extend Syria sanctions

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-14

The European Union will extend sanctions against more Syrian individuals and entities associated with the violent crackdown, an EU official said Monday. The Damascus regime will also be prevented from accessing European Investment Bank funds.

REUTERS - European Union governments reached a preliminary agreement on Monday to extend sanctions against Syria to more individuals associated with a violent crackdown on dissent, an EU official said.

The agreement by ambassadors of the 27 EU states, was expected to be confirmed by EU foreign ministers meeting later in Brussels, who will also endorse a decision to stop Syria accessing funds from the European Investment Bank, the official said.

EU leaders warned last month that Syria could face further sanctions if there was no halt to the violence, which the United Nations says has lead to the death of more than 3,500 protesters. 

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was a good case for adding to EU sanctions, which already affect 56 individuals and 19 firms and entities.

“It’s very important in the European Union that we consider additional measures to add to the pressure on the Assad regime to stop the unacceptable violence against the people of Syria,” he told reporters as he entered the meeting of EU foreign ministers.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton

Hague welcomed efforts by the Arab League to end the crisis.

In a surprise move on Saturday, the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and called on its army to stop killing civilians and some Western leaders said this should prompt tougher international action against President Bashar al-Assad.

The Arab League will also impose economic and political sanctions on Damascus and has appealed to member states to withdraw their ambassadors.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was in close contact with the Arab League to work on an approach to Syria.

“The situation in Syria causes enormous concern. I spoke last night to the secretary general of the Arab League and expressed our commitment to working closely with them,” she said.

EU governments last Wednesday agreed to stop Syria accessing funds from the European Investment Bank, which will mean the Syrian government will not receive any more cash under existing loan projects from the EIB.

The EU already tightened sanctions against Syria in October, adding the Commercial Bank of Syria to a list of entities sanctioned in protest against repression of dissent.

In September, it imposed an embargo on crude oil imports from Syria and banned EU firms from new investment in its oil industry. It also imposed sanctions on the main mobile phone firm, Syriatel, and the largest private company, Cham Holding.

Date created : 2011-11-14

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