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Ashton at press conference in capital Nicosia (AP)
Ashton at press conference in capital Nicosia (AP)

EU`27-nation bloc might impose new Sanctions on Syrian Regime

(DP-News - agencies)
Cyprus, EU- The events in Syria dominated the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Pafos, which was chaired by Baroness Ashton and also attended by Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Anxious to end the bloodshed, European Union diplomats at EU Ministers' Meeting in Cyprus on Saturday said the 27-nation bloc might impose new sanctions on Syrian government as soon as next month.

Catherine Ashton said a review in under way for both Syria and Iran "not only to consider whether more sanctions should be taken, but to make sure the enforcement of sanctions is done properly and any abilities to evade them are dealt with."

Ashton repeated Assad "should go" and that a top priority for the EU is to offer its full backing to the new U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who is set to begin mediation aimed at ending the civil war. Activists say more than 23,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

Ashton urged Syrian opposition groups to form a united front against the Assad regime. "It's really important that the people in Syria feel that they, whoever they are, are part of that future," she said.

Ashton said humanitarian concerns about Syrian refugees remains an "absolute priority" and that the EU is working with Syria's neighbors to provide assistance. She said some 200,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

"The discussion focused on key issues, including how to deal with the humanitarian crisis and the flow of refugees to neighboring countries, support to the opposition and how to assist the Syrian people with their transition to inclusive democracy in a post-Assad Syria," Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It added that the EU Foreign Ministers and the High Representative stressed the strong support of the EU to the UN and League of Arab States Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi and to his efforts for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.

Regarding crisis in Syria & speaking after visiting a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he saw "the first signs of erosion in the regime of Assad".

"It is necessary we isolate the regime of Bashar al-Assad," he told a news conference.

"We will use the next weeks while Germany has the presidency of the (United Nations) Security Council to work on this isolation and to increase the pressure on this regime. We think he has gone too far and his time is over." Westerwelle concluded.

Earlier on Friday, the EU announced it will provide an additional €60 million ($76 million) in humanitarian aid for Syria.
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