EU 'consensus' to beef up Syria sanctions

2012-09-08 15:44

Paphos - EU foreign ministers agreed on the need to beef up sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime at talks in Cyprus on Saturday, said Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis.

"There is consensus also on the increase of sanctions in Syria," she said, after announcing that the bloc's 27 ministers were agreed on the need to massively strengthen humanitarian aid.

Meeting on an island as close as 100km from Syria for their first talks since the summer break, the ministers also urged the fractured Syrian opposition to unite and agreed to try to work with Russia in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the 18-month conflict.

The Cypriot minister said European nations believed it was important to work with Moscow, Assad's main diplomatic and military supporter, despite anger over Russia and China vetoing three UN Security Council attempts to exert more pressure on Syria.

"We have to continue to work with Russia because we want to have them on board," she said.

Belgium's foreign policy chief, Didier Reynders, suggested one way of working with Russia would be to set up an international observer mission to ensure Syrian hospitals were kept open to the injured from both sides of the conflict.

In remarks to journalists at the close of two days of informal talks, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius too insisted on the need to respect humanitarian rights by maintaining hospital care open to all Syrians.

Regarding punitive action against the regime, Fabius said "if we want things to move, we must reinforce sanctions against the clan of [President] Bashar Assad".

Details on new measures would be worked out by the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, he said.

"There is a general feeling that more pressure must be placed on the regime in order to end the violence and enable the distribution of humanitarian aid throughout the country," added Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo.

Brussels on Friday announced an extra €50m for civilians trapped in the conflict, bringing the EU contribution in all to €200m, half of all international help.

"Humanitarian needs are rising rapidly," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "We need additional contributions to the human effort urgently."

The United Nations on Friday almost doubled its humanitarian appeal for Syria to $347m, estimating that more than 2.5 million people need food and medical help in the country.

More than 1.2 million, more than half of them children, have become internally displaced in Syria, and some 200 000 refugees are massed in neighbours Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-09 10:23

    . These 'puntive' sanctions are pretty useless, they certainly won't make this war, come to an end any sooner. All they do, like with that mugabe thug and his lovely, ever so corrupt Grace, is to cause some 'inconvience' Instead of going on shopping sprees, where they would prefer, like London and Paris, they now have to go to Hong Kong and Malaysia, to spend the loot stolen from the 'people'

  • joseph.motloung.3 - 2012-09-10 13:17

    well we all know that the western imperialists couldn't care any less about the plight of the Syrian people who this imposed war is severely affecting. They are fueling the war with their refusal to allow dialogue as means to resolving the crisis. It has been revealed that Britain has sent some of its special forces to Syria ( They are simply interested in an illegal regime change which is against international law

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 16:56

      Joseph, again, notwithstanding what your considerable Ego tells you, you do not speak for everyone. You only have authority to speak for yourself. As to the rest of your post, as has been pointed out to you many times by many people, as long as you hold onto your pseudo-victimhood that sees the West as evil and you the victim, you will continue to distort reality and unwittingly support the massacre of innocent Muslims and Africans by Jihadists and unelected dictators. As an ANC member, this is unconscionable. You should be supporting those who are trying to free themselves form oppression, not add to their suffering. Wake up!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 17:00

      Regarding the link you have provided, if the reports become confirmed, would you not want the unelected dictator, who has killed thousands of unarmed demonstrators wanting to vote, detained, tortured and had raped tens of thousands more, removed from power, power that he is obviously unwilling to give up and which was given to him by his unelected father who did the same thing when he was in power? Or do you want Syrians to continue to be massacred and denied the right to vote?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-10 17:37

      One more thing Joseph. Are you aware that you hold the same belief-system as someone who believes Nelson Mandela is a phony? Fidel believes this. And he believes as you do regarding "Western imperialism". You are of the same mind-set as someone who believes Nelson Mandela is a fraud. Imagine that.

      joseph.motloung.3 - 2012-09-11 09:05

      @Fred It must don't you get tired of defending the western criminals? You say that Assad is killing Muslims but so far it was revealed that the rebels have committed most of the atrocities in Syria. Just like the videos they posted on the internet showing how they slaughter people who oppose their crimes. The Assad regime has invited all parties 2 the negotiating table, they also introduced a referendum and held parliamentary elections. The notion that the terrorists of the SNC represent all opposition forces in Syria is false because they are not the umbrella organization for all opposition forces

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