US, Britain threaten sanctions over Aleppo
THE United States and Britain have warned that Western allies were considering imposing sanctions against economic targets in Syria and Russia over the siege of Aleppo.
US Secretary of State John Kerry branded the bombardment of civilians in the Syrian battleground city as “crimes against humanity” and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Moscow to show mercy.
“There are a lot of measures that we’re proposing including extra measures on the regime and their supporters,” Mr Johnson said, standing alongside Mr Kerry after talks in London on October 16.
“These things will eventually come to bite the perpetrators of these crimes and they should think about it now,” he said.
Mr Kerry warned that US President Barack Obama had not taken any option off the table in terms of tackling Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s assault on his own people.
He too raised the idea of sanctions but played down the possibility of military action and insisted that it was his and Mr Johnson’s duty to “exhaust” all diplomatic options.
“We are discussing every mechanism available but I haven’t seen a big appetite from anyone in Europe to go to war,” Mr Kerry said after talks with French and German officials.
“I don’t see the parliaments of European countries ready to declare war,” he said.
“Let me make it clear,” added Mr Kerry. “We are considering additional sanctions and President Obama has not taken any option off the table.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said stopping the bombardment of Aleppo took precedence during the talks.
“We see that the regime along with Russian support has other objectives,” he said.
“We are always ready to speak with the Russians and with the Iranians but we demand that the precondition is stopping the bombardment.”
Mr Ayrault did not confirm whether a no-fly zone over Aleppo was on the table.
“We have tackled many initiatives. We have not finalised everything but there is broad consensus on the necessity for pressure [to stop the bombardments],” he said. –
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (left) and US Secretary of State John Kerry give a joint press conference after a meeting on the situation in Syria at Lancaster House in London on October 16.