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EU reinforces sanctions against Syria

(Xinhua)

09:29, November 15, 2011

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton gives a press conference after an European Union (EU) foreign ministers meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Nov. 14, 2011. The EU on Monday condemned the continuous expansion of Iran's enrichment program, and reinforced its restrictive measures against Syria. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)

BRUSSELS, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Monday reinforced its sanctions against Syria "in view of the gravity of the situation" there.

According to the conclusions adopted here on Monday by the foreign ministers of the 27-member bloc, 18 more persons "responsible for human rights violations" were added to the list of those targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban.

This decision brings the total number of persons subject to the measures to 74. At the same time, 19 entities remain covered by a freeze of their assets in the EU.

In addition, the EU prohibited disbursements by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in connection with existing loan agreements between Syria and the bank. It also stopped the continuation of EIB technical assistance contracts for sovereign projects in Syria.

In May 2011, the EIB had already been invited by the Council to suspend new financing operations in the country.

In its conclusions, the EU welcomed the efforts of the Arab League (AL) to end violence and bring about democratic transition in Syria.

"The European Union salutes and fully supports the decisions taken by the Arab League meeting on 12 November, which show the increasing isolation of the Syrian regime," it said, referring to the AL decision on Saturday to suspend the Syrian delegation's activities in the pan-Arab body.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said at a press conference following the meeting that the EU would continue to press for strong UN action to increase pressure on Syria.

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