Bashar Assad
Photo: AP

Cyprus: EU 'consensus' to beef up Syria sanctions

European nations intent on working with Moscow to increase sanctions against Assad regime, says Cypriot FM

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 had agreed on the need to massively strengthen humanitarian aid.


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She also said EU nations were intent on working 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 also agreed that we have to work with Russia, we have to continue to work with Russia because we want to have them on board," she added.


Emerging from the two-day informal meeting, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also said there was agreement to strengthen punitive measures against the Assad clan, and that details on new measures would be worked out by the office of EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.


"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.


Meeting on an island as close as 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Syria for their first talks since the summer break, the ministers the previous day called for a massive boost in aid to Syrian civilians amid fears the humanitarian crisis could impact Europe's security.


Brussels meanwhile announced an extra 50 million euros ($63 million) for civilians trapped in the conflict, bringing the EU contribution in all to 200 million euros, 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 $347 million, 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 neighbors Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.




פרסום ראשון: 09.08.12, 16:33
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