Bloomberg News

EU to Prepare ‘Further Restrictive Measures’ Against Syria

March 02, 2012

The European Union is considering a new round of sanctions against Syria, according to the draft conclusions from a summit in Brussels today.

In the document, to be agreed upon at the Brussels meeting, leaders of the 27-nation bloc request EU officials to prepare “further restrictive measures” against the government in Damascus.

The EU “demands that Syrian authorities immediately stop the massive violence and human-rights abuses inflicted to the civilian population,” according to the draft document, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

In language added to the draft overnight and intended to increase pressure on government and military officials in the country, it added: “Those responsible will be held accountable,” raising the prospect of putting individuals involved in human-rights abuses on trial.

On Feb. 27, the EU froze the Syrian central bank’s assets and banned trade in precious metals and diamonds with the country. An oil embargo approved last September has just taken effect.

In the draft, the EU for the first time recognized the Syrian National Council as a “legitimate representative of Syrians.”

Syrian Opposition

“The European Union supports the Syrian opposition in its struggle for freedom, dignity and democracy, recognizes the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of Syrians and calls upon all members of the Syrian opposition to unite in its peaceful struggle,” the document said, renewing the EU’s call for President Bashar Al-Assad to stand aside.

Some members of the EU, including the U.K., have already recognized the SNC. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the lack of a united opposition movement is one of the reasons why the Syrian uprising is more complicated than the situation in Libya, where Muammar Qaddafi was ousted last year with the support of an international coalition.

Another paragraph added to the draft “stresses the responsibility of the Syrian authorities regarding the security of foreign nationals in Syria, including journalists.” Marie Colvin, a U.S. journalist who worked for the U.K.’s Sunday Times, and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the country last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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