BRUSSELS: European Union governments agreed on Friday to broaden their sanctions against Syria to allow for future bans on business with Syrian banks or energy and telecommunications firms, EU diplomats said. During a round of talks in Brussels on future sanctions against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, EU diplomats also confirmed plans to impose an embargo on imports of Syrian crude oil to Europe. Pending a final confirmation by EU capitals, the import ban could be put in place as soon as next week, diplomats said. But disagreements persisted over proposals to ban European citizens from investing in Syria’s oil industry — a measure already instituted for Americans by the United States along with an embargo on crude — and a prohibition against exporting oil-related equipment to Syria.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.