November 23, 2011 / 2:23 PM / 8 years ago

EU plans financial sanctions on Syrian banks, loans: EU diplomat

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments plan to adopt a wide range of financial sanctions against Syria next week, targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s ability to access cash through the banking sector, an EU diplomat said on Wednesday.

The new measures are expected to include a ban on European investment in Syrian banks, trading in Syrian government bonds and on provision of insurance to state bodies.

They are also expected to ban new loans to the government, bilaterally or through international financial institutions, prohibit trading of gold or other precious metals and bar sales of computer software used to monitor the Internet or telephone communications.

The measures are also expected to prohibit Syrian banks from opening new branches in EU states, the diplomat said.

“The goal is to target Assad’s financial resources,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

EU governments gave preliminary agreement to the package earlier this week but experts will continue discussions this week and could amend the proposals, the diplomat said.

The new measures will add to broad EU sanctions which include an oil embargo, as well as measures against Assad himself, aimed at halting a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad triggered by Arab revolts in North Africa and the Middle East.

Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; editing by Rex Merrifield

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