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Syria slams EU decision to lift oil embargo for rebels benefit


08:56, April 24, 2013

DAMASCUS, April 23 (Xinhua)--Syria's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the EU's move to ease an oil embargo on Syria to allow rebels to sell crude oil is tantamount to an act of aggression, according to the country's official SANA news agency.

In a letter sent to the UN Security Council, the ministry said the EU decision to allow importing Syrian oil and its derivatives and investing in Syrian oil industry through exclusive transactions with the oppositional National Coalition violates the principle of noninterference in the countries' internal affairs.

A day earlier, the European Union (EU) eased certain sanctions against Syria, including the oil embargo, so as to "help the civilian population" and support the opposition in the conflict- ravaged country.

According to a statement issued by the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the 27-member bloc gave green light to three types of transactions: imports of oil and petroleum products, exports of key equipment and technology for the oil and gas industry to Syria, as well as investments in the Syrian oil industry.

The EU asked the Syrian authorities to consult with the exiled SNC before approving any such transactions, and to ensure that the transactions do not circumvent EU sanctions against Syria, in particular the asset freezes on those people associated with the violence in Syria.

The EU import ban on Syrian oil and petroleum products was imposed in September 2011.

In its letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry dismissed the EU decision as "an unprecedented step," accusing the EU of being involved in the "political and economic campaign" to target the country's economy.

"Neither the EU nor any other party has the right to take any measures that would affect the state's sovereign rights over their national resources," said the ministry.

The EU countries "have gone even beyond that to allow the possibility of investing these resources in favor of one group that claims to be an opposition and represent the Syrian people while it actually represents no one by its masters and their interests that are connected to foreign sides," it said.

"Syria demands that the UN Security Council take necessary measures to prevent the implementation of this illegitimate decision that contradicts with the rules of international law and the UN Charter," the ministry urged.

It warned that "Syria will practice its natural right to take the necessary measures to maintain its sovereignty over its natural resources in the face of the attempts of piracy and looting."

It reiterated that the sanctions which the EU imposed on Syria since the beginning of the crisis are "illegal" and "illegitimate", adding that the sanctions have resulted in nothing but increasing the suffering of the Syrian people.

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