|EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton gives a press conference after a Foreign Affairs Council meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels. European Union nations tightened the noose on Syria on November 14, slapping new sanctions on Presidant Bashar al-Assad’s regime and urging UN action to protect civilians after eight months of bloodshed. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS|
BRUSSELS: The European Union added 18 people on Tuesday to its list of sanctions that aim to put pressure on the Syrian government, including senior military and intelligence chiefs, a deputy minister and a lawyer.
Agreed by EU capitals on Monday, the new measures are part of Western efforts to force President Bashar al-Assad to halt violence against anti-government protesters. The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have been killed in the crackdown.
The EU said the military and intelligence officials, who are subject to asset freezes and a ban on travel to the 27-member bloc from Tuesday, are among those responsible for the violent crackdown.
Syria’s deputy interior minister, Saqr Khayr Bek, was also included on the basis that he is “responsible for the use of violence against the civilian population in Syria”.
The EU listed a 52-year-old lawyer, Bassam Sabbagh, as part of its efforts to curb Assad’s access to funds. The lawyer, EU governments said, is a legal and financial adviser to Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the president who controls Syria’s biggest mobile phone operator Syriatel.
For details, see the Official Journal of the European Union: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:296:0003:0005:EN:PDF
Tuesday’s listings bring the number of people targeted by the EU’s Syrian sanctions to 74. EU companies are also banned from doing business with nineteen organisations and firms, including Syriatel.
The impact of Western sanctions against Assad is blunted by a lack of sufficient international cooperation.
The Syrian government on Monday voiced confidence that Russia and China would continue to block Western efforts at the United Nations to condemn its crackdown on protesters.