Europe targets Assad in call for UN sanctions

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France, Britain, Germany and Portugal on Tuesday proposed UN sanctions against Syria that target President Bashar al-Assad over his crackdown on opposition protests, diplomats said.

A draft sanctions resolution, which has strong US backing and also calls for an arms embargo, was distributed to the 15 member council for the first time at consultations on the Syria crisis, envoys said.

"A draft resolution of sanctions is being circulated to the Security Council members," the French UN mission said on its Franceonu twitter account.

"Bashar is named in the resolution," a western diplomat on the Security Council said on condition of anonymity. "It also calls for an arms embargo."

The Syrian president faces growing international criticism for the military assault against protests said to have cost more than 2,200 civilian lives since mid-March.

The resolution would target individuals and entities considered responsible for the violence, a second diplomat said confirming that Assad's name was on the resolution. "It would aim to stop the government getting the means to carry out the violence.

Western diplomats say they expect intense negotiations before calling for a vote.

Russia and China have opposed any threat of action against Syria. India, Brazil and South Africa have also raised objections.

© 2011 AFP

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