EU rejects call for oil embargo on Nigeria

SARAH HELM

Brussels

and STEVE CRAWSHAW

The European Union yesterday rejected calls for an oil embargo against Nigeria - even while South Africa pressed for a stronger penalties against the regime.

European foreign ministers agreed to an arms embargo and a series of less drastic penalties in response to the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others this month. Germany joined Sweden in supporting the imposition of an oil blockade but other member states called for a more cautious approach, deciding that further measures needed more examination.

In a statement, the 15 member states confirmed their commitment to maintain measures taken against Nigeria in 1993, including a suspension of military cooperation and visa restrictions for members of military and security forces.

Strengthening the 1993 sanctions, the EU yesterday agreed to add new visa restrictions against civilian leaders in the Nigerian ruling council and federal executive committee and their families. The arms embargo covers all weapons designed to kill, and ammunition, weapon platforms and equipment. It also covers spare parts, repairs, maintenance and transfer of military technology.

In South Africa, the secretary-general of the African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa, claimed that Britain was planning a freeze on assets and was "considering" an oil embargo. British officials were keen to downplay these possibilities, however, saying that "we are not on to that yet".

At yesterday's meeting in Brussels, Klaus Kinkel, the German Foreign Minister. expressed support for tougher measures. "I favour an oil embargo and a freeze of assets because these are the measures that would probably impress Nigeria," he said.

The Swedish Foreign Minister, Lena Hjelm-Wallen, also expressed support for the oil embargo - but acknowledged that there was little support for the idea. "We are not satisfied, and want to go further," she said after the meeting.

South Africa, whose moral voice now perhaps counts for most of all, has notably toughened its stance from President Nelson Mandela's softly-softly approach, when the death sentence on Saro-Wiwa and the eight others was first announced, last month. Mr Mandela yesterday called for a regional summit of southern African leaders to discuss further measures to be taken against the military regime.

Carl Niehaus, a member of the ANC national executive, said that Shell's decision to press on with its huge new natural-gas project in Nigeria was "deeply disappointing". Mr Ramaphosa said that he was "disgusted and terribly unhappy" at Shell's decision.

President Mandela yesterday met the chairman of Shell South Africa, John Drake. Mr Niehaus said that Mr Mandela had "raised very strongly the need for Shell to show its outrage about what was happening in Nigeria and then to place pressure on the Nigerian regime because of the economic power that it holds."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...