EU mulls toughening sanctions on Syria

BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday began work to toughen sanctions against Syria, looking at adding firms and a dozen people to a blacklist which already includes President Bashar al-Assad and key allies.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2011, 11:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:21 AM

Several diplomatic sources said experts from the 27-nation bloc were discussing ways Thursday of “widening sanctions” against Damascus.

“The idea is to move up a level,” said a diplomat who asked not to be identified. “Talks are focusing on new names and entities.”

An EU source said a dozen names could be added to a list of Syrians hit by an assets freeze and travel ban, with the firms they are associated with to be targeted by sanctions later.

The EU to date has slapped two sets of sanctions against Assad’s regime over its savage crackdown on protesters, with EU foreign ministers late May adding the president to a blacklist of 23 Syrian officials hit by an assets freeze and travel ban.

Sources told AFP the new proposals were unliely to be ready for approval by foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg next Monday but would hopefully be ready for an EU summit in a week, on June 23-24.

Several European nations — notably Britain, France, Germany and Portugal — have joined Washington in pushing for a UN resolution condemning the crackdown but this is opposed by permanent Security Council members China and Russia.

Beijing and Moscow on Thursday issued a joint statement opposing outside interference in the unrest in the Arab world.

Also on Thursday, the United States condemned Syria’s “outrageous use of violence” after Syrian rights groups reported nearly 1,300 civilians killed in three months of bloodshed.

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