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EU Widens Sanctions on Syria as Divisions With Russia Persist

The European Union tightened sanctions against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as violence in the country intensifies.

In the 19th round of penalties on Syria, EU foreign ministers prohibited the import of arms from the country as well as any involvement by the 27-nation bloc in the transport of Syrian weapons. The ministers also barred EU companies and nationals from providing financial services to Syrian arms exports.

In addition, building on an existing ban on cargo flights from Syria, the ministers denied Syrian Arab Airlines access to EU airports. Furthermore, they added 28 people to a list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze for their alleged involvement in the “violent repression against the civilian population” in Syria.

“We call on all states to refrain from delivering arms to Syria and to follow the EU in stopping the supplies that fuel the fighting,” Catherine Ashton, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said in an e-mailed statement after the ministerial decision today in Luxembourg. The details, including of two further entities subject to an asset freeze, will be published in the EU Official Journal tomorrow.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the EU failed to bridge divisions with Russia over the handling of events in Syria during a dinner last night in Luxembourg with Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“I can’t say that we made any progress,” Hague told reporters today. “We had an exchange of views. But as has been the case for many months with Russia, we didn’t reach any agreements.”

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