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Arab League sanctions pressure Syria

11-30-2011 15:13 BJT

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The Arab league voted on sanctions this weekend to pressure Syria's government into allowing observors into the country. The sanctions include economic freezes to further weaken Syria's already crippled economy.

As our correspondent Stephanie Freid reports, events surrounding Syria are moving fast and some are hinting there may be military action from outside.

The Arab League vote was historic. Twenty-two members convened in voting to enact sanctions against Syria - one of the League's founding members.

Sheik Hamad Bin Jassim, Qatari Foreign Minister, said, "The council has decided to ban all Syrian officials from travel to Arab countries, 2) to cut off transactions with the Syrian central bank, 3) to halt trade with the Syrian government, except for strategic products that would affect the Syrian people, 4) to freeze all monetary accounts of the Syrian government."

Eight months of turmoil inside Syria has now escalated on an international level. Syria's assets will be frozen, Arab countries are implementing a travel ban on Syrian officials and trade will stop.

The pressure for Syria to allow 400 observers into the country is at a peak. And for Syrian officials, it is viewed as pure provocation.

Walid Moualem, Syrian Foreign Minister, said, "Brothers, to stop dealing with the central bank is a declaration of economic war in international law. This is an unprecedented move. Freezing the Syrian assets? Let me assure you, 95 or 96 percent of it has already been withdrawn."

Turkey is not an Arab league member, but as a neighboring Muslim state, Turkey's government has historically shared good relations with Syria.

Now those relations are strained. In part due to Turkish condemnation of Syria's government. Also because Turkey is playing host to Syria's political opposition body and military wing.

This founding member of the Syrian National Council supported the Arab league vote. But he felt it's not enough.

Abdulrahman Al Haj, organizer of Syrian National Council, said, "We don't want want just economic sanctions. We need something more than economic sanctions. We need to stop this killing now in Syria. "

But if more is done, particularly militarily, the looming concern is an already factioned Syria will descend into civil war. And the organizers, when pressed, admit they don't have a plan for filling the gap should there be a regime change.

Abdulrahman Al Haj said, "This is a big problem maybe. I think this is a problem maybe for the regime - but not for us. We are looking for an Arabic solution"

For now, the sanctions will deal a tougher blow to an already hurting Syrian economy. And as the country's economic minister suggested, it's the civilians who will suffer most.


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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