Europe Imposes More Sanctions on Syria Regime over Repression

With the Syrian regime still not fully implementing the ceasefire plan from United Nations envoy Kofi Annan, the European Union added more to the list of those supporting the regime whose assets are frozen. In addition, the EU warned in a press statement that Annan’s six-point peace plan is “not an open-ended offer.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in comments posted on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, was even more direct on the consequences should the regime fail to fulfill the peace plan. “This plan remains the best hope of ending the violence, but it is not open-ended and we will not hesitate to return to the UN Security Council if it is not implemented swiftly and in full,” said Hague.

According to the European press statement, the EU sanctions imposed on Monday froze the assets of two entities “financially supporting the regime” and also placed a travel ban and an asset freeze on three people. In 15 rounds of EU sanctions on the Syrian regime since the violence began more than one year ago, 128 people and 43 entities have been affected by an asset freeze.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was quoted as saying in the press release, “The EU sanctions target the Syrian regime, not the civilian population. As long as the repression continues, we will continue to put pressure on those responsible for it.”

The latest sanctions come as a UN observer mission continues its efforts to mitigate the violence in the country. Since last March, thousands of civilians have been killed in a brutal government crackdown on the opposition calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. Some elements within the opposition have also taken up arms against the authorities, raising concerns of a potential civil war in the country.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, May 14, 2012)