EU cool to US plan for new Rus­sia sanc­tions over Syria

Financial Chronicle - - AROUND THE GLOBE -

Euro­pean Union for­eign min­is­ters looked un­likely to join the United States on Mon­day in im­pos­ing new eco­nomic sanc­tions on Rus­sia or Syria over chem­i­cal weapons at­tacks that prompted the first co­or­di­nated West­ern air strikes in Syria.

Af­ter Britain and France joined the United States in mis­sile salvoes meant to crip­ple Syr­ian chem­i­cal arms fa­cil­i­ties and pre­vent their fur­ther use, West­ern lead­ers sought to em­pha­sis diplo­macy, with an EU for­eign min­is­ters meet­ing in Lux­em­bourg. “It is very im­por­tant to stress (the strikes are) not an at­tempt to change the tide of the war in Syria or to have a regime change,” Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said. “I’m afraid the Syr­ian war will go on in its hor­ri­ble, mis­er­able way. But it was the world say­ing that we’ve had enough of the use of chem­i­cal weapons,” he said.

In Lux­em­bourg, min­is­ters were set to re­lease a state­ment to keep open the op­tion of new travel bans and as­set freezes on Syr­i­ans the West ac­cuses of links to the April 7 poi­son gas at­tacks on a rebel en­clave out­side Da­m­as­cus. But diplo­mats fore­saw no de­ci­sions on Mon­day, es­pe­cially against Rus­sians. “We have to keep push­ing to get a cease­fire and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid through the (United Na­tions) Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and even­tu­ally a peace process,” Dutch For­eign Min­is­ter Stef Blok told re­porters. The only so­lu­tion is a peace process through the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil,” said Blok.

The United States is due to an­nounce new eco­nomic sanc­tions on Rus­sia aimed at com­pa­nies it al­leges were deal­ing with equip­ment re­lated to chem­i­cal weapons, ac­cord­ing to U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley.

How­ever, EU diplo­mats cau­tioned that un­til Euro­pean gov­ern­ments had more idea of what the United States was plan­ning, it was not pos­si­ble to quickly fol­low suit. In the past, EU mea­sures have some­times come months af­ter Wash­ing­ton’s.

Rus­sia is Europe’s big­gest en­ergy sup­plier and, while the EU has im­posed sig­nif­i­cant sanc­tions on Moscow’s fi­nan­cial, en­ergy and de­fence sec­tors over the cri­sis in Ukraine, close ties be­tween Rus­sia and some EU mem­bers com­pli­cate dis­cus­sions about new puni­tive mea­sures.

The Euro­pean Union has al­ready im­posed a range of eco­nomic sanc­tions on Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s gov­ern­ment, cut­ting off most diplo­matic and eco­nomic links, but to no avail. Within the EU, which is due to hold an in­ter­na­tional donor con­fer­ence for Syria next week, most gov­ern­ments now agree that As­sad can­not con­tinue as pres­i­dent for peace talks to suc­ceed.

“There will be a so­lu­tion in­volv­ing ev­ery­one who has in­flu­ence on the re­gion... No­body can imag­ine some­one who uses chem­i­cal weapons against his own peo­ple to be part of this so­lu­tion,” Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas said in Lux­em­bourg.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.