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EU readies new sanctions over Syria repression, adds names to blacklist
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 518 days ago | Wednesday, 18th January , 2012 , 23:57 [pm] | Azerbaijan
|.|| European sanctions on Syria are set to be tightened after EU ministers added 22 individuals and eight companies to an existing blacklist on Monday, in an effort to tackle the Syrian governmentâ€™s repression of anti-regime protests.
â€œAs long as the repression
European sanctions on Syria are set to be tightened after EU ministers added 22 individuals and eight companies to an existing blacklist on Monday, in an effort to tackle the Syrian governmentâ€™s repression of anti-regime protests.
â€œAs long as the repression continues we will step up our restrictive measures,â€ one diplomat told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
No details were immediately available on the new targets of the sanctions, AFP news agency reported.
The EU has already agreed ten rounds of sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with some 120 people and companies targeted so far by an EU assets freeze and travel ban, AFP news agency reports.
An arms embargo and a ban on imports of Syrian crude has also been enforced by the European Union.
The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, is struggling struggles to agree on a resolution on Damascusâ€™s crackdown on dissent.
Russia, which insists the Syrian opposition is as much to blame for the violence as the regime, warned against Western calls for punitive measures.
â€œFor us, the red line is fairly clearly drawn. We will not support any sanctions,â€ said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country was a Cold War ally of Damascus and retains a naval base at Tartus on Syriaâ€™s Mediterranean coast.
But China defended the Arab Leagueâ€™s widely criticized observer mission to Syria which began last month
â€œSince the Arab League observer mission began, the violence in Syria has not completely ended, but the security situation of major areas has improved,â€ said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin.
â€œ(This) shows the mission is effective,â€ he added.
The U.N. says that of 5,400 killed since protest erupted in March, 400 have lost their lives since the observers arrived.
Moscow and Beijing used their vetoes at the U.N. Security Council last October to block a Western-drafted resolution that would have threatened Damascus with â€œtargeted measures.â€
Meanwhile, a group of 140 Arab rights groups condemned on Wednesday the â€œflawedâ€ Arab League observer mission from Syria and called for U.N. intervention to halt the violence.
The coalition sent a letter to the pan-Arab bloc urging it to withdraw the mission given the â€œflaws that have severely underminedâ€ its efficiency and the Syrian governmentâ€™s failure to implement the Arab League peace plan.
The letter also urged the U.N. Security Council â€œto take action to address the violence.â€
The heavily criticized monitoring team has been in Syria since December 26 to oversee an Arab road map under which Damascus agreed to end the violence, withdraw the army from the main cities, give journalists and observers access to all parts of the country and free political prisoners.
The Arab League is due to meet on Saturday and Sunday to discuss its missionâ€™s future, as well as a proposal by Qatar to send Arab troops to Syria that Damascus has flatly rejected.
â€œThe monitoring mission lacks basic transparency and credibility, the mission is under the authority of Sudanâ€™s ex-military intelligence director who was presidentâ€™s Darfur adviser during the genocide,â€ allegedly committed there, said Radwan Ziadeh, president of one coalition member, the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies.
â€œNo observers have been able to do their job: instead, the mission legitimizes the Syrian regime,â€ Ziadeh added, in a statement representing the rights groups working in 19 different countries.alrabiya, Voice of a Nation