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EU Considering New Sanctions Against Syria and Iran, Ashton Says

The European Union may impose additional sanctions on Syria and Iran as it reviews the effectiveness of those already in place, the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

“We keep sanctions under review not only to consider whether more sanctions should be taken but to make sure that the enforcement of sanctions is done properly and any ability to evade them is dealt with,” Ashton told reporters in Nicosia today after a meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers.

While considering new sanctions, Europe has to support the new United Nations envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, Ashton said. “His approach will be to look for a political breakthrough that clearly takes the people into their future and stops the violence,” she said, adding that EU foreign ministers agreed to increase humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees by 50 million euros ($64 million).

Ashton said that it is “critical” to urge Syrian groups opposing President Bashar al-Assad to work together. “It is also really important that the people in Syria feel that they are part of that future and that means reaching out to minority groups.”

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