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European Union to adopt an embargo against imports of Syrian oil

August 26/2011

(Arabian Oil and Gas) -- The Assad regime's response to demonstrations has prompted additional sanctions from the US and EU. European Union governments are likely to adopt an embargo against imports of Syrian oil "by the end of next week" to ratchet up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, an unnamed EU diplomat told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

The blocs 27 governments agreed last Friday to explore new sanctions against Assad in response to his five-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, in which the United Nations says 2,200 civilians have been killed. Earlier this month the US urged the EU to stop importing Syrian oil after introducing its own oil sanctions. A round of discussions was held in Brussels on Monday, the diplomat said, and EU capitals raised no objections.

An oil embargo would constitute a major step for the EU, where several governments have been reluctant so far to target Assads oil industry because of concerns over potential damage to their commercial interests when the Eurozone teeters on recession.

Syria produces about 400,000 barrels of oil a day, exporting most of about 150,000 barrels per day to European countries, particularly the Netherlands, Italy, France and Spain. Oil accounts for around 30% of government revenues and it vital to the financial health of the Assad regime.

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