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Syria suspends its membership in Mediterranean union

(Xinhua)

14:45, December 02, 2011

DAMASCUS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government has decided to suspend its membership in the Union for the Mediterranean (UFM) until the European Union (EU) abrogate its measures against Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman said in a statement that the EU has undertaken a series of unwarranted sanctions that targeted the livelihood of the Syrian people.

The sanctions entail a flagrant violation of Syria's national sovereignty and interfere in the country's internal affairs, contrary to the essence of the signed agreements between the EU and Syria, the spokesman said.

Syria's this move came in retaliation for the escalating media and political campaign against Syria as well as the instigation that the EU has been practicing instead of being conducive in finding an outlet to the current crisis in Syria, according to the statement.

European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels decided to impose a new raft of sanctions on Syria that would target 12 people and 11 companies.

The UFM, consisting of the 27 EU member states and 16 neighbor countries in North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, aims to promote the economic integration throughout the Mediterranean region.

The EU sanctions came just one day after Turkey announced its sanctions against Syria, which included a freeze of the Syrian government's assets in Turkey, a travel ban on Syrian leaders, a halt of the relations between the Turkish and Syrian central banks, and a block to the delivery of all weapons and military equipment to Syria through Turkey.

Earlier this week, the Arab League (AL) decided to impose economic sanctions on Syria after the latter missed a deadline to sign a draft protocol to allow hundreds of observers into the country as part of a peace deal it agreed on early this month. However, Syria said the draft protocol represented an encroachment against Syria's sovereignty and accused the AL of acting out a foreign agenda for the interests of the United States and its European allies.

The Syrian economy has been hardly hit by the EU, U.S. and Arab sanctions, coupled with a recent raft of the Turkish economic sanctions.

Syria has said that it could survive the sanctions through its self-sufficient economy and other new measures by the government.

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