EU states consider sanctions on Syria central bank

BRUSSELS - European Union member states are working on a new round of sanctions against Syria, which they hope to conclude by Feb. 27, EU diplomats said on Tuesday.
The sanctions would include a freeze on the Syrian central bank's assets as well as on most transactions with it, they said. The sanctions would also ban the import and export of phosphates, diamonds, gold and other precious metals.
"A new round of financial sanctions is on the table," one diplomat said, adding that they had full backing from France and Germany.
"The sanctions would include freezing assets of the Syrian central bank and banning any transaction with it which is not deemed legitimate... Sanctions would also foresee a ban on imports and exports of phosphates, gold, precious metals and diamonds."
EU member states are also considering a ban on commercial flights to and from Syria, but agreement on this is less likely, the diplomats said.
"A realistic objective would be to get the sanctions agreed by Feb. 27, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels, but it could also happen before," said one of the diplomats.
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