Reuters: EU states reached a political agreement on Wednesday to extend sanctions against Syria to four military-linked entities and seven individuals, including three Iranians, linked to suppression of dissent, EU diplomats said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU states reached a political agreement on Wednesday to extend sanctions against Syria to four military-linked entities and seven individuals, including three Iranians, linked to suppression of dissent, EU diplomats said.
In May, the European Union added Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials to a list of Syrians banned from traveling to the EU and subject to asset freezes.
“There is a political agreement on extending the list,” an EU diplomat said, adding that the new sanctions would take effect on Friday, once all 27 EU states have written on Thursday to give their formal approval.
The new sanctions list was drawn up by Britain and France and would bring the total number of individuals and entities targeted by EU sanctions on Syria to 34.
The diplomat said the Iranians were involved in providing equipment and support to help suppression of dissent in Syria, in which rights groups say 1,300 civilians have been killed.
“We welcome the inclusion of three Iranian names in the extended round of sanctions on the Syrian regime,” a British government spokesman said.
“This sends a clear message to the government of Iran that its provision of equipment and technical advice to help the Syrian regime quash protests is unacceptable.”
The move follows a speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in which he promised reforms to address a wave of protests against his rule, but which opponents said did not meet popular demands for sweeping political change and the European Union called “disappointing.”
On Wednesday, Syria scorned the EU dismissal of Assad’s reform promises, saying it showed Europe wanted to sow chaos in the country. It threatened to turn to other regions for trade and support.
In a statement on Monday, EU foreign ministers condemned “in the strongest terms the worsening violence in Syria.”
While calling on demonstrators to maintain the peaceful nature of their protests, they EU urged the Syrian authorities to launch a national dialogue and meaningful political reforms.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Julien Toyer, editing by Rex Merrifield)