Further sanctions against Syria
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On 23 September, the European Union stepped up pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad by banning investments in key sectors of the Syrian oil industry. This supplements the decision taken on 2 September to impose a ban on oil imports from Syria.
The sanctions are the EU's response to the widespread violations of human rights and the crackdown on the Syrian people by the Syrian regime. The measures target those responsible for the acts and those who support them.
"The EU continues to aim at putting an end to the repression and assisting the Syrian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations", High Representative Catherine Ashton declared on 23 September. "The EU restrictive measures are designed to have maximum impact on the Syrian regime, while minimizing any potential negative impacts on the Syrian population. This is done by carefully targeting those individuals and entities which benefit from or support the regime. The EU will consider further measures in the light of developments."
The latest ban targets investments in Syrian enterprises engaged in exploration for and production and refining of crude oil, both in their own country and abroad. EU-based operators are no longer allowed to acquire shares in such companies or create joint ventures with them. The ban also covers the provision of related financing. It is intended to hit the regime's revenues severely, as Syria exports more than 90% of its oil to EU countries.
The Council also banned the delivery to the Syrian Central Bank of bank notes and coins produced in the EU. Furthermore, it added two more persons to the list of those targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban and adopted sanctions against a further six economic entities linked to the violent repression against the country's population.
The latest package represents the seventh round of sanctions adopted by the Council since the brutal crackdown by the Syrian government on its own citizens began six months ago. The measures in force on 26 September covered:
- An embargo on arms and material that can be used for internal repression;
- An asset freeze and visa bans on 56 individuals;
- An asset freeze on 18 entities;
- A ban on import and transport of crude oil and other petroleum products from Syria and on investments in the Syrian oil industry.
The first EU restrictive measures against the Syrian leadership were adopted on 10 May, when the Council took a decision to ban exports of arms to the country and imposed a visa ban and asset freeze on 13 persons responsible for the brutal repression. On 24 May, it added President al-Assad and nine other senior members of the government to the list.
Council bans investment in Syrian oil industry (pdf)
Statement by Catherine Ashton (pdf)
EU External Action website on Syria
Frequently Asked Questions on EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime (pdf)