News / Middle East

Arab League Approves Sanctions Against Syria

The seat of the Foreign Minister of Syria is seen empty during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, to discuss the situation in Syria, November 24, 2011.
The seat of the Foreign Minister of Syria is seen empty during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, to discuss the situation in Syria, November 24, 2011.

Arab League foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, agreed Sunday to impose a series of biting economic sanctions on Syria, after Damascus failed to accept an Arab plan to send monitors in response to its deadly crackdown on an opposition uprising. The ministers will meet again next Saturday to review the effects of their action.

Nineteen of 22 Arab League foreign ministers voted to impose the sanctions on Syria. It was an extraordinary action against a member state.

The sanctions include a freeze on the assets of Syrian leaders in Arab states, an end to Arab investment and trade with Syria, a halt to dealings with Syria's central bank, and a ban on travel by Syrian officials to Arab states.

The Arab League's point-man for Syria, Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber al Thani, said the vote to impose sanctions will have its desired effect, even if the sanctions are never applied, so long as Syria ultimately agrees to stop targeting civilians:

Arab foreign ministers will hold a follow-up meeting in one week to re-evaluate the effects of the sanctions and whether they need to be prolonged.

Observers say that Syria could still decide to agree to the Arab League plan within the coming week to have sanctions lifted.

Sheikh Hamad expressed frustration over the long political discussions, stressing that the Arab League could “keep discussing the matter for another year, and issuing new decrees,” but that “the Syrian people would continue to die.”

Arab League head Nabil al Arabi told journalists that extra care would be taken to see that the new economic sanctions would not hurt the Syrian people or neighboring states:

The Syrian economy is already reeling from the convulsions of the eight-month old popular uprising, along with economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States.

Al Arabiya TV reported that the league's decision to freeze the assets of Syrian officials in the Gulf states is the sanction mostly likely to pressure Damascus. Syrian leaders reportedly have few assets in either Europe or the U.S., but large sums invested in the Gulf.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs