Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Hague welcomes EU move on Syria

Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed an EU move to impose sanctions on Syrian government officials

The Foreign Secretary has welcomed an EU move to stop Syria's crackdown on protesters by imposing sanctions on government officials.

William Hague said the measures send a "clear message" to Syria as its security forces opened fire on protesters calling for an end to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Reports suggest that up to 27 people may have died.

The assets of up to 14 Syrian government officials will be frozen and they will be banned from travelling anywhere in the European Union.

Mr Hague said: "I strongly support today's agreement to impose tough sanctions on those responsible for the violence we have witnessed in Syria.

"The EU is sending a clear message that we will act against those who brutalise peaceful protesters and seek to repress their legitimate aspirations for reform.

"The UK has been at the forefront of pressing for the EU to accelerate its response. We will continue to review this list and consider with our partners whether others should be added to it.

"The Syrian regime must realise that attempts to respond to calls for reform with violence are doomed to failure."

No sanctions are expected to apply against the Syrian president.

The adoption of the measures - expected to be a formality - will be agreed by heads of government next week. They are likely to come into force later this month.

Thousands of people joined demonstrations across Syria calling for an end to Assad's regime. His security forces have been accused of repeatedly firing on protesters in the past week, killing scores of people.

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