MOSCOW – Russia’s foreign minister slammed the European Union sanctions against Syria, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Saturday, quoted by CNN. “We’ve always said that unilateral sanctions will bring no good. It destroys the partnership approach to any crisis,” Sergei Lavrov said. The EU imposed a ban Friday on the import of Syrian oil, which is one of the latest diplomatic moves against Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. The action was expected. The EU has been a top market for Syrian oil, and the group said it intended to make the move which will have a detrimental impact on the Syrian government’s oil revenues. The EU also added four more Syrians and three entities to a list of those targeted by an asset freeze and a travel ban. But there is an exemption to the asset freeze for humanitarian purposes.
World powers have been bearing down on the al-Assad regime because of the government’s ferocious crackdown against peaceful protesters for nearly six months.
According to BBC News, at least 14 people were reportedly killed on Friday as protesters again came out in force across the country. Activists said seven had died in suburbs of the capital Damascus, four in the central city of Homs, and another three in Deir al-Zour in the east. The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed since pro-democracy demonstrations began in mid-March. The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger meanwhile was pressing Syria’s leaders for access to detainees held by the government. He was due to meet Prime Minister Adel Safar and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Sunday, and Assad on Monday.