Middle East

EU adds Syria’s foreign minister to sanctions blacklist

The European Union has added recently-appointed Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to its sanctions blacklist, as Damascus has repeatedly said the Western restrictions come in clear disregard of international law and the UN Charter.

On Friday, the European Council in a statement announced its decision, which includes a travel ban and asset freeze, against the top Syrian diplomat who became foreign minister in November, shortly after his predecessor Walid al-Muallem passed away.

The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions against the Arab country, the first of which came in May 2011. They include travel bans, asset freezes, and measures targeting operations like oil imports, certain investments as well as technology transfer.

The sanctions are subject to annual review.

The European body has since October imposed sanctions against more than a dozen Syrian ministers. The restrictive measures ban the ministers from traveling to Europe and will see their assets frozen.

The latest decision by the EU on Friday against Damascus brings to 289 the total number of Syrian individuals targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze. Seventy entities in the Arab country are also subject to an asset freeze by the European body.

The US, for its part, has imposed rounds of crippling sanctions against Syria. Parts of the sanctions have been imposed under the so-called Caesar Act, an American piece of legislation that alleges to support the Syrian people by protecting them against the Syrian administration’s way of governance.

Damascus has time and again said that the US and its allies have defied calls from the UN chief and the UN human rights council for the lifting of such restrictive measures, particularly at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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