Arab ministers agree sanctions against Syria

AFP , Sunday 27 Nov 2011

Nineteen of 22 Arab League member countries agree to economic sanctions and travel bans against the Syrian regime, while violence continues in Syria as security forces kill eleven on Sunday

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Syria's empty seat at Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Thursday (Photo: Reuters)

Arab foreign ministers agreed a raft of sanctions against Damascus in a meeting on Cairo on Sunday as President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime pressed ahead with a crackdown on dissent.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said 19 of the Arab League's 22 members voted to ban prominent Syrian regime officials "from travelling to Arab countries and to freeze their accounts in Arab countries."

The bloc's members will also stop dealing with the Syrian Central Bank and suspend economic trade with the Damascus government, with the exception of foodstuffs, he said.

Iraq had abstained from the vote, and refused to implement it, while Lebanon "disassociated itself" from the decision, he said.

The decision also called on Arab central banks to monitor transfers to Syria, except remittances from Syrians abroad to their families.

The Arab League had set a Friday deadline for Damascus to agree to an observers' mission, part of a reform deal Syria had previously said it accepted.

Syria has denounced the Arab League's moves to suspend it from the pan-Arab body and level sanctions against Assad's regime.

In a letter to the Arab League on Saturday, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused the organisation of seeking to "internationalise" the crisis in his country.

The violence showed no sign of abating on Sunday, with security forces killing at least 11 people, six in the flashpoint central region of Homs which has been besieged for weeks in a bid to crush dissent, activists said. 

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