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Hague welcomes Syria sanctions move


Foreign Secretary William Hague today welcomed a further strengthening of EU sanctions on Syria, intensifying the pressure on the regime of president Bashar Assad.

Mr Hague said EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg had agreed a series of new measures against Syrian banking, military and state media organisations.

Further action had also been taken to strengthen the arms embargo, making clear that the insurance and re-insurance of arms shipments to Syria was explicitly prohibited.

It follows the turning back in British waters of a Russian ship carrying attack helicopters to Syria following a warning that its insurance was invalid as it was in breach of the arms embargo.

"This sixteenth round of sanctions against banking, military and state media entities sends an unequivocal message that we will intensify the pressure until the Assad regime ends the killing and implements (UN envoy Kofi) Annan's six-point plan in full," Mr Hague said.

"The UK will remain vigilant and continue to do all that we can to prevent the completely unjustified arming of a regime that is carrying out appalling crimes against its own people.

"I call on all countries, including those in the region, to implement their own tough measures so that Assad and his henchmen are in no doubt that they must chose a different path or face ever-increasing isolation."