EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have agreed fresh sanctions against Syria.
Amid the continuing violence between rebels and the Bashar al-Assad regime, Europe’s top diplomats also expressed concern over the length of time it was taking the UN mission led by Kofi Annan to establish a ceasefire.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: ‘‘Of course, it is not open ended. There isn’t an indefinite period of time for the Annan plan to work but it is the right plan, it is the best plan for any kind of peaceful transition in Syria.’‘
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also voiced frustration over the lack of progress on a ceasefire, saying it was time to start discussing the establishment of humanitarian corridors and some kind of military presence.
Currently 189 UN observers are in Syria. That is expected to rise to 300 later this month. Despite that, Finland’s Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja doubted it would have much of an impact.
‘‘Three hundred people can only have a limited effect because so far it has been proved that where there are observers in place there is no shooting, but when they go away the shooting restarts,’‘ Tuomioja said.
The latest punitive measures agreed between European foreign chiefs include a travel ban and asset freeze on three people and two entities linked to Syria’s leadership.