Wednesday, February 8, 2012

EU states consider increasing pressures on Syria

Syrians protesting in support of President Bashar al-Assad. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

The European Union has announced plans to impose a new round of sanctions against Syria, as countries continue to recall their envoys from the Middle Eastern country.

"A realistic objective would be to get the sanctions agreed by February 27, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels, but it could also happen before," an EU diplomat said on Tuesday, adding that the sanctions had the full support of Germany and France.

After the US, Britain, and Belgium recalled their envoys from Syria for consultation, several EU states such as France, Italy, and Spain have also revealed plans of doing the same. This is while Persian Gulf states have also announced plans to withdraw their envoys.

The EU imposed an earlier set of sanctions against Syria last May.

The draft, presented to the Security Council by Morocco, initially supported an Arab League plan that called on President Assad to resign and hand over power to a deputy to form a national unity government “with the opposition within two months.”

However, during a meeting on February 2, UN Security Council ambassadors met to consider a revised version of the resolution, which no longer included the explicit reference to Assad handing over his powers and also excluded the explicit call for a new national unity government.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of President Assad.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters. But Damascus blames "outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups" for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

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