Last Updated: Mon Feb 27, 2012 13:30 pm (KSA) 10:30 am (GMT)

EU agrees to beef up Syria sanctions

The EU has blacklisted almost 150 Syrian entities and people. (File photo)
The EU has blacklisted almost 150 Syrian entities and people. (File photo)

European Union foreign ministers on Monday agreed fresh sanctions on Syria, including a freeze on the assets of the central bank, the EU said Monday.

Other measures include an assets freeze and travel ban on seven Syrians close to President Bashar al-Assad, a ban on cargo flights into the 27-nation bloc and restrictions on trade in gold and precious metals.

Shortly after ministers went into talks, the EU announced “points adopted including restrictive measures against the Syrian regime.”

The EU has already blacklisted almost 150 Syrian entities and people.

Cargo flights to the EU operated by Syrians will not be allowed to land, but should they be carrying passengers they will be given access to EU nations.

Some nations had also urged a ban on phosphate exports from Syria as the EU accounts for 40 percent of those. But Greece, which is one of the main buyers, opposed the ban, sources said.

Nations doing extensive business with Syria also argued against full sanctions against the central bank, fearing that such measures would halt all trade and impact on the Syrian people.

Likewise a proposal to ban commercial flights between Europe and Syria was dropped as it would complicate efforts to evacuate EU citizens if such action was needed.

The EU has already imposed oil and arms embargoes against Syria in response to a crackdown that has left more than 7,600 people dead, according to rights groups, since anti-regime protests erupted in March.

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