BRUSSELS - European Union governments have reached an agreement in principle to impose sanctions on the Syrian central bank this month as part of new measures intended to force Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power, a senior EU diplomat said on Wednesday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the diplomat said details of the new sanctions were still being worked out but the EU's 27 capitals were behind the push, which should be formally approved by Feb. 27.
"Obviously, details are crucial. But (EU) member states agree on the principle," the diplomat said.
"It is still a matter of discussion to what extent we can take such a measure without damaging overall trade, because it is not the intention to halt trade completely."
The EU was likely to move quickly in adopting the sanctions despite such concerns, he said, amid growing acknowledgment in Europe that it is difficult to completely avoid hampering civilian trade through sanctions.