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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New sanctions against Syria


According to sources, European Union foreign ministers on Monday approved fresh travel bans and asset freezes over the Syrian regime s opposition crackdown, while renewing a push for a United Nations resolution after Damascus rejected an Arab League suggestions. "I think the violence has gone much, much, much, much too far and every day that this agony is prolonged, it gets worse," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in clashes between government troops and protesters demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad s regime since mid-March. The Arab League s foreign ministers had proposed easing the unrest by having al-Assad step down, forming an interim administration including opposition leaders and extending the mandate of an observer mission in Syria, among other things. "The Arab League plan ... seems a reasonable one, but unfortunately it has been rejected by the Syrian regime and that s regrettable," Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant Agata told reporters before meeting his EU counterparts in Brussels. The ministers then approved a new round of sanctions, which diplomats had said will target 22 people and eight entities. The individuals and companies will not be identified until the sanctions are published in the EU s official journal. The bloc has been pushing for the United Nations to condemn the violence, but has been hampered in its efforts by Russia and China. British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday called a resolution by the UN Security Council "long overdue." German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "I hope that this latest decision in the Arab League will convince some partners in the Security Council in New York ... that it is necessary to act." "As the European members of the Security Council, we think it is urgent and it is necessary that the international community will find a common and agreed language," he added.

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