US welcomes EU sanctions for Syria

The United States says the oil embargo will
“directly impact” the regime’s financing of
its crackdown on protesters
© AFP/File Joseph Eid


WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Saturday welcomed the EU decision to ban crude oil imports from Syria, saying the move would “directly impact” the regime’s financing of its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

“These sanctions send a powerful signal to the Assad regime to end the violence and allow a peaceful political transition to begin,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement, a day after the European Union targeted the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Petroleum sales are a key source of revenue and foreign currency for the Assad regime, so this new ban will directly impact the regime’s ability to finance its violent crackdown against peaceful protestors,” Nuland said.

Washington’s support was in contrast to Russian disapproval of the European Union oil embargo, voiced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier Saturday.

The United States, Nuland said, will work with international partners “to add political and economic pressure in an effort to force President Assad to step aside and allow the Syrian people to effect a peaceful transition that is democratic and inclusive.”

The EU also expanded its list of pro-government figures and firms targeted by an assets freeze and travel ban, adding four businessmen accused of bankrolling the regime and three firms, diplomats said.

The oil embargo will deprive Assad’s regime of a vital source of cash as the EU buys 95 percent of Syria’s crude exports.

In Paris on Thursday for an international meeting on Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Syria’s leader needed to “step aside” and that world powers must “translate our rhetoric into concrete action to escalate the pressure on Assad.”

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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