Syria faces tough sanctions as protests intensify
Amman, September 2, 2011
Syria on Friday faced fresh sanctions targeting its oil exports, as activists called fresh anti-regime protests under the banner of 'death rather than humiliation.'
The European Union was to formally adopt an embargo on Syrian oil, but the sanctions would not take effect until November 15 for existing contracts after Italy insisted on a delay, according to diplomats in Brussels.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday that France was pushing for a United Nations Security Council resolution laying out sanctions against Syria and condemning use of violence against civilians there.
He also said France would develop contacts with the opposition in Syria. 'Our objective is to obtain a resolution at the security council condemning the use of violence against civilians and organising a regime of sanctions,' Juppe told an annual conference of French ambassadors in Paris.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged European and other countries on Thursday to impose more sanctions on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying more pressure was needed to force him to step down in response to more than five months of popular protests.
In another development, a senior Syrian official said he had resigned in protest at hundreds of killings and thousands of arrests by Assad's regime, as nationwide demonstrations showed no sign of a let up.
'I, the attorney general of the province of Hama, Mohammed Adnan al-Bakkour, announce my resignation from the regime of Assad and his band,' he said in a video posted on YouTube late Wednesday.
He said he took the decision after hundreds of jailed peaceful demonstrators were killed by the authorities and buried in mass graves, and 10,000 were arrested arbitrarily.
But the official Sana news agency reported that Bakkour had been kidnapped en route to work with his driver and bodyguard, quoted officials as saying his statement had been made under duress.