William Hague welcomes new Syria sanctions

 

William Hague today hailed new sanctions against Syria as another tightening of the economic noose against the Assad regime.

After talks with fellow EU foreign ministers in Brussels, the Foreign Secretary said: "I welcome today's EU agreement to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Syria and restrict the Syrian regime's access to the gold and precious metals market.

"Along with previous rounds of sanctions, these tough measures are tightening the economic pressure on President Assad."

EU sanctions against Syria already include an arms embargo, a ban on EU exports of oil and gas equipment to Syria, and visa and asset bans against more than 100 members of the ruling regime including President Assad.

The freeze on assets of the Syrian central bank is intended to help limit funding of the continuing violent crackdown on the regime's opposition.

Before leaving Brussels Mr Hague said: "The EU has also imposed sanctions on an additional seven individuals for their involvement in the repression of civilians and suspended cargo flights operated by Syrian airlines.

"This twelfth round of EU sanctions reinforces the clear message from the meeting of Friends of the Syrian People on 24 February, which condemned the regime's ongoing use of widespread and indiscriminate violence against peaceful protesters and agreed to continue working closely to resolve the situation in Syria."

He added: "That is why we are doing all we can to bring the widest possible weight to bear on the Syrian regime and increase the stranglehold on it.

"We will continue working closely with our EU partners to support the Arab League and its plan to end the violence in Syria and bring about a Syrian-led transition to a peaceful and more open political system."

The meeting endorsed a declaration from last Friday's meeting in Tunis of the 60-nation Friends of Syria group calling on the Syrian leader to step down and urging the setting up of a UN peacekeeping force.

Mr Hague dismissed the Syrian "referendum" as of no relevance to international efforts to impose a "diplomatic and economic stranglehold" on the Assad regime to "choke off support for its campaign of terror".

But he is against arming the Syrian opposition.

He welcomed the Arab League's support and its readiness to join peacekeeping efforts, but pointed out: "For that to work, there has to be a peace to keep."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has renewed attacks on Russia and China's veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian regime's aggression.

The lack of a Security Council declaration has weakened international diplomatic efforts to end the violence, and Mr Hague warned that Russia and China's actions were seen as wrong "in the eyes of the world".

He said the issue would be taken up once more at the UN in New York later this week.

As well as freezing the assets of the Syrian central bank, the foreign ministers have banned trade in "gold, precious metals and diamonds" with "Syrian public bodies".

A statement said the aim was to reinforce existing restrictive measures against the Syrian regime, given the continued use of violence against civilians.

EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton, who chaired the talks, said: "Today's decision will put further pressure on those who are responsible for the ruthless campaign of repression in Syria.

"The measures target the regime and its ability to conduct the appalling violence against civilians.

"As long as the repression continues, the EU will keep imposing sanctions."

PA

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution