EU steps up sanctions against Syria

The European Union, building on earlier restrictions, announced a widening of sanctions against Syria, banning investment in key areas of the country’s oil and gas industry in addition to other measures.

“The restrictive measures are designed to have maximum impact on the Syrian regime, while minimizing any potential negative impacts on the Syrian population,” said Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs chief.

“The EU will consider further measures in the light of developments,” Ashton said, calling for an end to the “brutal campaign” by the Syrian regime against its own population.”

Under the extended sanctions, EU-based oil companies will may not acquire stakes in or create joint ventures with Syrian oil companies. The measures prohibit investment in Syrian firms involved in the exploration, production, or refining of oil in Syria and abroad.

The new sanctions, which will be published on Sept. 24, also ban the delivery of Syrian-denominated bank notes and coinage produced in the EU to the Syrian Central Bank.

Non-EU member Switzerland, home to numerous oil-trading firms, also joined the EU oil ban, slapping an embargo on the import, sales, and transport of Syrian oil and products.

Earlier this month, the EU banned oil imports from Syria, saying, “The prohibition concerns purchase, import, and transport of oil and other petroleum products from Syria.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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