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New package of ‘cosmetic’ EU sanctions against Syria agreed upon

April 23, 2012, 17:01 UTC+3

Unlike all the previous packages of sanctions, the EU member states failed to reach an agreement on another expansion of the “black list” for Damascus

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LUXEMBOURG, April 23 (Itar-Tass) — A new package of EU sanctions against Syria has been agreed upon, a European diplomatic source told journalists here.

“The ministers will on Monday decide on sanctions with full certainty, there is full understanding among the community’s 27 countries,” he said.

It is already the 14th block of sanctions against Syria. Sources admit that it will be “cosmetic.” Unlike all the previous packages of sanctions, the EU member states failed to reach an agreement on another expansion of the “black list” for Damascus. As a result, this time the matter for discussion is the ban on exports of luxury goods to Syria that has “symbolic significance and should undermine the domestic habits of the family of Bashar Al-Assad and his entourage.” In addition, the EU intends to somewhat “expand the list of the banned for import to Syria dual-use technology, which can be used for internal repressions.” This ban will also not play a decisive role, as the EU embargo on the import of weapons and police equipment to Syria has been long in effect.

The EU has already introduced 13 blocks of sanctions against this country. The EU “blacklist” for Syria includes 162 people, including President Assad and his family, Syrian officials and businessmen. They all are denied entry into Europe, and their bank accounts are subject to freezing. In addition, European businesses are forbidden to have contacts with more than 40 organisations close to the Syrian regime, including the Syrian national airline, the Central Bank and a number of export companies. Earlier, the European Union imposed a ban on the trade in arms, oil and petroleum products with Syria.

The EU member states continue to demand from Assad to relinquish power and launch the “peace process of the transfer of authority to temporary democratic structures.”

According to the United Nations, the number of victims of the civil war in Syria that has been on for more than a year has exceeded nine thousand people. Damascus claims that up to 2.5 thousand military and security service personnel have been killed in clashes with the anti-government forces.

An advance group of 30 unarmed international observers has arrived in Syria. The group’s main task is to prepare the conditions for the work in the country of the UN main monitoring group that will comprise 250 people.

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