France says EU sanctions should target Syria's Assad

3rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

EU sanctions being drawn up against Syria over its bloody crackdown on protests should target its president, Bashar al-Assad, France's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Asked whether France wanted Assad to be specifically named in the measures being discussed in Brussels, Alain Juppe told reporters: "France wishes so."

The European Union on Friday launched preparations for an embargo on the sale to Syria of weapons and equipment that might be used for internal repression.

The bloc said it would also "urgently consider further appropriate and targeted measures with the aim of achieving an immediate change of policy by the Syrian leadership", said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

EU diplomats said other measures that could be imposed on the regime include an assets freeze and travel bans against officials blamed for the violent repression of anti-government protests.

Juppe said European powers were "unable to succeed" in having a sanctions resolution against Syria passed by the UN Security Council since the measure did not have the necessary support and Russia and China were likely to veto it.

"We are trying to act through the EU" instead, he said.

© 2011 AFP

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