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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
News
Not quite what they were expecting
news

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

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: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum