The European Union may introduce a new package of sanctions against Syria, La Libre Belgique daily quoted on Sunday Belgium Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders as saying.
“Belgium will actively contribute to this process (preparation and adoption of sanctions) together with its European partners,” Reynders told La Libre Belgique.
On January 23, the EU adopted the latest sanctions against Syria that target 22 top Syrian officials and eight companies with a ban on travel to the EU and a freeze on assets in Europe.
Reynders’s statement comes as the international community tightens pressure on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is believed to be behind a brutal crackdown on the opposition.
Veto-wielding UN Security Council members Russia and China on Saturday blocked the Morocco-proposed draft resolution on Syria that called on Assad to step down. Thirteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the draft, backed by the Arab League and the West.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, called Russia and China's veto “a travesty” and pledged to “redouble the efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people's right to have a better future.”
At least 5,400 people have lost their lives in the Syrian government's crackdown on protesters since March last year, according to UN estimates. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.