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Syria: EU boosts sanctions and arms embargo

The EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels decided today to ratchet up the pressure on the Syrian regime by extending sanctions and, in particular, by boosting the arms embargo already in force. The new measures will allow European countries to perform inspections in their airports, sea ports and territorial waters of ships and planes en route to Syria suspected of carrying weapons or materials potentially useful for the purposes of repression, in accordance with international law. Additionally, the sanctions have been extended to include 26 persons and several entities that lend economic support to the Assad regime.

The arms embargo against Syria went into effect in May of 2011. In addition to strengthening these, the foreign ministers added 26 persons to the list of those whose assets have been frozen and visas denied. With this latest decision, the list totals 155 persons and 52 entities. Today’s is the 7th package of EU sanctions against the Damascus regime.

The European ministers then reiterated their unwavering commitment to offer “assistance to Lebanon” in order to allow that country to aid refugees, condemning the “recent incursions” along the borders between Lebanon and Syria. “Every violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon is unacceptable and violates UN resolution 1559 and 1680”, the conclusions read.

Syrian army approaching ethnic cleansing. The EU must act outside the UN, declares Terzi

Arriving in Brussels, Minister Terzi affirmed that “the Syrian army is fighting an absolutely unprecedented battle against its own people, which has gone well beyond any other repression witnessed in other Arab spring countries. Something that in our world should not exist, and something that is approaching ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”, he added, underscoring moreover, that this violence “creates the most favourable climate for terrorist organisations”.

According to Terzi, to resolve the crisis the EU must also act outside the UN through diplomatic action groups and the Friends of Syria to block the veto situation in the UN Security Council “linked to the crisis by a very tenuous string” and, more in general, to support the Arab League proposal calling for “the training of a transitional Syrian government legitimised by the Syrian people, and the conditions for Assad to leave Syrian and step down from power”.

Moreover, it is necessary “to intensify support for the Syrian people by means of humanitarian intervention, because there are those, such as children, who are suffering enormously. Italy gave its immediate support to the UNICEF appeal to direct massive aid to all the most affected segments of the society”, Terzi continued.

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