A Syrian official has censured the European Union (EU)’s recent extension of sanctions against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, saying the move could be an impediment to efforts for finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
Khalaf Muftah, the head of the ruling Ba’ath Party’s department of culture and information, made the criticism in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news
agency on Friday.
The EU bans are illegal and contradict international law and the United Nations (UN)’s Charter, Muftah said, adding, “These measures hamper the political process, because they increase the sufferings of the Syrian nation and do not promote the creation of conditions for a political dialogue with Europe
He further called for the lifting of the economic blockade on Syria
, noting that the measure has led the Syrian nation to poverty and misery and forced people to migrate.
“The sanctions contradict the statement that migration has political causes, because the real cause is the economic blockade imposed by Europe,” he said.
The remarks came hours after the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, extended its sanctions against the government in Damascus until June 2017.
Syrians inspect their homes upon their return to the modern section of the city of Palmyra, April 9, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The bans include investment restrictions, an embargo on Syrian oil and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets within the 28-nation bloc. They also cover export restrictions on certain equipment and technologies as well as travel bans and asset freezes against more than 200 people and 70 entities.
The measures come as part of an EU decision in December 2014 to continue sanctions against Syria as long as what the bloc calls government repression goes on.
The development comes as some European countries and their regional allies are accused of supporting terrorist groups that have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country over the past five years.