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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU Tightens Syria Sanctions

RIA Novosti

17:21 23/01/2012

BRUSSELS, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union foreign ministers on Monday adopted new sanctions against Syria, the EU press service said.

The sanctions target 22 top Syrian officials and eight companies with a ban on travel to the EU and a freeze on assets in Europe.

"We call again for the violence to stop, for the (Arab League) monitors to be able to do their job unhindered," said European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as she went into talks with the EU's 27 foreign ministers.

"We're deeply concerned with the situation in Syria," she added. "There needs to be a peaceful transition in that country."

The EU has already agreed 10 rounds of sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with some 120 people and companies targeted so far by an EU assets freeze and travel ban. It is also enforcing an arms embargo and a ban on imports of Syrian crude oil.

The EU move comes after Syria rejected an Arab League plan for Assad to transfer power to his deputy and make way for a national unity government. The UN estimates that more than 5,400 people have died since March in the crackdown on democracy protests.

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