EU restricts luxury exports to Syria in new sanctions

Reuters , Monday 23 Apr 2012

As international pressure mounts on Al-Assad, the European Union agrees to impose new sanctions on the Syrian regime, banning luxury goods exports and further restricting the sale of items used to repress dissidents

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, right, speaks with Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, right, and Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, center. (AP Photo)

The European Union adopted new sanctions against Syria on Monday because of the continued bloodshed in the country despite a 10-day ceasefire, the EU's council of foreign ministers announced.

The new measures announced by the ministers, representing EU governments, would restrict exports to Syria of two types of merchandise: luxury products and certain goods that could be used for repression.

A small group of unarmed observers has been operating in Syria for a week, and the ceasefire has reduced some of the violence, though failed to bring it to a complete halt. Syrian soldiers stormed a town east of Damascus on Sunday and rebels bombed a military convoy in the north of the country.

The U.N. Security Council agreed on Saturday to increase the mission to a 300-strong observer team, part of international mediator Kofi Annan's plan to halt the killing and launch a political dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad and opponents seeking his downfall.

Annan said the Security Council's decision was a "pivotal moment in the stabilisation of the country" after more than a year of turmoil in which more than 9,000 people have been killed.

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