European Union governments are likely to adopt an embargo against imports of Syrian oil by the end of next week, as they move to ratchet up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, an EU diplomat said on Wednesday.
The bloc's 27 governments agreed last Friday to explore new sanctions against Assad in response to his five-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, in which the United Nations says 2,200 civilians have been killed.
A round of discussions was held in Brussels on Monday, the diplomat said, and EU capitals raised no objections.
"The whole process could be completed by the end of next week if all goes according to plan," the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The EU already has sanctions against dozens of Syrian officials and several state entities but it has taken incremental steps in broadening its measures, with some states concerned about risking commercial interests in Syria.