EU may limit air, sea traffic to Syria
COPENHAGEN THE European Union is preparing more sanctions on the Syrian regime, diplomats said on Saturday, as Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt warned of the possibility of a “full-scale sectarian civil war” in the country.
“The longer the violence goes on, ... the greater is the risk of the country descending into a full-scale sectarian civil war which risks spreading all over the region with devastating consequences,” Bildt said in Copenhagen.
“We are reviewing the possibility of further ratcheting up sanctions,” he added at the end of two days of informal talks with his EU counterparts in Denmark, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.
Among the proposals now being considered is a ban on passenger flights to Damascus and limits on shipping traffic, said high-ranking diplomats who asked not to be named.
A decision is expected to come at the ministers’ next formal meeting on March 23.
The EU estimates that around 10,000 people have been killed in Syria’s yearlong crackdown on regime opponents. It has imposed round upon round of sanctions on Damascus - which several ministers insisted are bearing fruit, but have yet to halt the violence.
They continued to rule out any international military intervention, not least because Russia and China continue to block joint action through the United Nations Security Council.
“I wouldn’t want that with passing time, our capacity for indignation over what is happening in Syria weakens,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned.
He predicted that there is no way for the regime of President Bashar al Assad “to survive.” “When a head of state massacres thousands of his fellow citizens by bombarding his cities, he is condemned to disappearing from the political scene,” Juppe said. “The earlier, the better.”