Syria: in the wake of the Arab League EU slaps new sanctions on the regime

In the 3124th Foreign Affairs Council meeting of the Council of the European Union on the 14 November 2011 the following conclusions were adopted:

The European Union continues to be deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Syria where according to the United Nations more than 3,500 people have been killed since March. The EU again condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing brutal repression and widespread human rights violation. The Council discussed today the situation in Syria as well as the outcome of Arab League meeting that took place last Saturday in response to the failure of the Syrian government to implement the Arab League plan to which Syria committed on 2 November. The EU deplores that once again the Syrian government has not lived up to its own commitments, pursuing instead the repression against its own people.

The European Union welcomes the efforts of the Arab League to end violence and bring about the democratic transition that the Syrian people have bravely demanded in the last eight months. The European Union salutes and fully supports the decisions taken by the Arab League meeting on 12 November, which show the increasing isolation of the Syrian regime.

The European Union will continue to press for strong UN action to increase international pressure and urges all members of the Security Council to assume their responsibilities in relation to the situation in Syria. In light of the continued repression in Syria, the EU has decided today to place new restrictive measures against the regime, by suspending the disbursement of European Investment Bank loans and by targeting additional individuals responsible or associated with the repression and supporting
or benefiting from the regime. In line with the European Council Conclusions of 23 October, the EU will continue to impose additional and more comprehensive measures against the regime as long as the repression of the civilian population continues.

The EU stresses its strong support to the Syrian people and welcomes the ongoing efforts by the Syrian opposition to establish a united platform and to work for a shared vision for the future of Syria and the transition to a democratic system. The EU stands ready to engage with representative members of the opposition which adhere to non-violence and democratic values such as the Syrian National Council. The European Union shares the vision of those who strive peacefully for a life in freedom and dignity, committed to rule of law and human rights.

The EU demands that the Syrian authorities immediately grant access to humanitarian agencies and workers and to fact-finding missions, in particular from the independent international commission of inquiry appointed by the Human Rights Council in August, and to allow independent and international media to operate in Syria without restrictions.

The EU strongly condemns attacks on diplomatic premises. The Syrian authorities are under an international obligation to ensure the protection of diplomatic missions and personnel in Syria in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Furthermore the Council added a further 18 individuals to the list of those targted by assets freeze and travel ban in accordance with decision 2011/273/CFSP and regulation 442/20112. The list of the 18 individuals will be presented on this blog tomorrow, 15 November 2011.

About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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