Britain summons Syrian envoy, warns of new sanctions

Last Updated: Friday, May 13, 2011 - 23:56

London: Britain summoned the Syrian
ambassador on Friday in coordination with other EU nations to warn
of fresh sanctions against the regime if it fails to stop a
crackdown on protesters.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said it had "called
in the Syrian Ambassador Dr Sami Khiyami... to express the
UK`s strong concerns about the ongoing situation in Syria."

Foreign Office political director Geoffrey Adams told
him that "unless the Syrian government stopped the killing of
protestors and released political prisoners, the UK along with
its EU partners would take further measures to hold the regime
to account."

"These measures would include further sanctions
targeted at the highest levels of the regime, including travel
bans and asset freezing," the statement added.

Adams also called on Damascus to respect human rights
including freedom of expression and urged Syria to allow UN
access to besieged protest-hit Syrian cities including Deraa.

A Foreign Office spokesman said to a news agency it was "part of a
coordinated EU move" but did not say how many other countries
were involved. Five EU nations summoned the Syrian ambassadors
to their countries in April.

Last month Britain withdrew Khiyami`s invitation to
the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine.

The European Union on Tuesday enforced sanctions on
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s brother and inner circle,
and warned the Syrian leader that he could be next.

It slapped Assad`s younger brother Maher al-Assad and
13 other senior officials including four of the president`s
cousins with an asset freeze and travel ban as part of a
package of measures, including an arms embargo.

Britain`s action came shortly after Damascus said the
Syrian army had started to pull out out of the coastal region
of Banias where it deployed in force last week to put down
anti-regime protests.

Syria`s military said it started to pull out of the
town of Deraa on May 5, 10 days after sending in tanks and
troops during a deadly sweep against regime opponents.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 13, 2011 - 23:56

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