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EU to introduce new sanctions on Syria

world Updated: Feb 06, 2012 07:30 IST

IANS
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The European Union may introduce a new package of sanctions against Syria, Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders has said.

"Belgium will actively contribute to this process (preparation and adoption of sanctions) together with its European partners," Reynders told the La Libre Belgique daily.

On Jan 23, the EU adopted a set of sanctions against Syria that targetted 22 top Syrian officials and eight companies with a ban on travel to the EU and a freeze on assets in Europe.

Reynders's statement comes as the international community tightens pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is believed to be behind a brutal crackdown on the opposition.

Veto-wielding UN security council members Russia and China Saturday blocked a draft resolution on Syria that called on al-Assad to step down. Thirteen of the council's 15 members voted in favour of the draft.

Around 5,400 people have lost their lives in the Syrian government's crackdown on protesters since March last year, according to the UN.

Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.

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