Friends of Syria calls for more pressure on Assad
DOHA THE Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions (the Group) strongly condemned the continuing attacks by the Syrian regime on the Syrian people at its third meeting, held in Doha, on Thursday.
In a communique issued after the meeting, which was attended by representatives of more than 50 countries and co-chaired by Qatar, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the Group expressed its grave concern about the serious deterioration of the situation in Syria in recent days. It also agreed that the developments underlined the need for sustained and increased pressure on the Syrian regime to bring an end to the violence, including through the adoption of stronger measures against those most responsible for the violence.
Reaffirming their call made at the Paris meeting on July 6 for the UN Security Council to support Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan by urgently adopting a resolution under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter that enforces the Joint Special Envoy’s six-point plan, endorses the Action Group Geneva communique and imposes sanctions on the Syrian regime, including asset freezes and travel bans for continued non-compliance.
In his opening remarks, the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs HE Ali Fahad al Hajri said that Qatar has taken, among other measures, steps to ensure that the Qatari financial system is not used by the Assad regime to fund its brutal actions or to circumvent the sanctions. “Qatar’s Initiatives have received generous support and fruitful cooperation in the exchange of information by other members of the international community,” al Hajri emphasised.
The Group also agreed that escalation of violence by the Syrian regime as well as the suffering of the Syrian people were intolerable, that the regime’s actions aim to perpetuate its illegitimate hold on power.
It noted the strong international support for the UNHRC resolution passed on July 6, which condemned the “widespread, systematic, and gross violations of human rights; acts of violence; ongoing atrocities; and indiscriminate targeting of civilians by Syrian authorities,” which “might amount to crimes against humanity.” It therefore called upon all members of the international community to join with the Friends of the Syrian People to isolate the Syrian regime and its supporters by adopting and enforcing targeted restrictive measures. The ongoing crisis continues to escalate regional tensions and threatens regional security and stability. In that regard, the Group commended the positive and vital role carried out by the Arab League in showing regional leadership by responding to the Syrian crisis since its inception, the communiqué said.
The Group also called on the international community to show its solidarity with the Syrian people by enforcing measures to deprive the Syrian regime of the resources needed to continue carrying out its violent crackdown and to compel it to comply fully and immediately with all elements of the Kofi Annan Plan’ and with its commitments under UNSCRs 2042 and 2043 and proceed with a political transition as set forth in the guidelines and principles of the June 30 Geneva Action Group communique.
The meet welcomed the measures implemented by the member states of the Friends of the Syrian People to harmonise and enforce sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on the Syrian regime since the Paris and Washington meetings.
It called on all member states to continue to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of sanctions including assets freezes and transaction restrictions on the Central Bank, the Commercial Bank of Syria and the Syrian regime and its designated supporters, as well as an embargo on petroleum products and the provision of related insurance and reinsurance. The Group called upon all states to adopt and implement these measures unilaterally.
The Group noted that existing sanctions, including the oil embargo and assets freezes are having a significant impact by depriving the regime of substantial revenue that would have been used to fund the violence against the Syrian people.
It called on all states to be vigilant in countering regime attempts to circumvent the oil embargo and other restrictive measures.