EU — Council conclusions on Syria

3091st FOREIGN AFFAIRS Coun­cil meet­ing
Brus­sels, 23 May 2011
The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:
“1. The EU con­demns in the strongest terms the ongo­ing repres­sion in Syr­ia and the unac­cept­able vio­lence used by the mil­i­tary and secu­ri­ty forces against peace­ful pro­tes­tors which have lead to hun­dreds of fatal­i­ties and many more peo­ple being injured. Those respon­si­ble for this vio­lence should be held account­able. The EU express­es it con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims and salutes the courage of the Syr­i­an peo­ple.

2. The EU urges the Syr­i­an lead­er­ship to agree and grant access to an urgent mis­sion of the Office of the High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights to the coun­try, as request­ed by the Unit­ed Nations Human Rights Coun­cil on 29 April.

3. The EU is deeply con­cerned at con­tin­u­ing mass arrests, intim­i­da­tions and instances of tor­ture and calls for their imme­di­ate halt. The EU calls for the imme­di­ate release of all those arrest­ed for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in peace­ful protests, as well as of all polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and human rights defend­ers. Syr­ia must abide by its inter­na­tion­al com­mit­ments, in par­tic­u­lar its oblig­a­tions under the Inter­na­tion­al Covenant on Civ­il and Polit­i­cal Rights and uphold the right to peace­ful assem­bly and free­dom of expres­sion. The EU is equal­ly con­cerned by the refusal of the Syr­i­an author­i­ties to grant access to for­eign media to report freely on the unfold­ing events in the coun­try. It also con­demns the arrests and intim­i­da­tions of Syr­i­an jour­nal­ists by the authorities.

4. The EU is deeply trou­bled by the mil­i­tary clo­sure of a num­ber of cities, such as Der­aa, Banias and Homs and by report­ed hin­drance of access to med­ical treat­ments and to basic ser­vices. The EU calls on the Syr­i­an Gov­ern­ment to guar­an­tee free and inde­pen­dent access to human­i­tar­i­an organ­i­sa­tions and pro­vi­sion of human­i­tar­i­an aid to these areas and to ful­ly respect human­i­tar­i­an principles. 

5. The EU urges the Syr­i­an author­i­ties to respond to the legit­i­mate demands of the Syr­i­an peo­ple by launch­ing an inclu­sive and gen­uine nation­al dia­logue and by imple­ment­ing with­out delay and through a con­crete timetable, mean­ing­ful polit­i­cal reforms. This is the only way to ini­ti­ate a peace­ful tran­si­tion to democ­ra­cy and pro­vide sta­bil­i­ty for Syr­ia in the long term.

6. As part of the ongo­ing review of all aspects of its coop­er­a­tion with Syr­ia, the EU has decid­ed to sus­pend all prepa­ra­tions in rela­tion to new bilat­er­al coop­er­a­tion pro­grams and to sus­pend the ongo­ing bilat­er­al pro­grams with the Syr­i­an author­i­ties under ENPI and MEDA instru­ments. The EU Mem­ber States stand ready to review their bilat­er­al coop­er­a­tion in this regard. The Coun­cil invites the EIB to not approve new EIB financ­ing oper­a­tions in Syr­ia for the time being. The EU will con­sid­er the sus­pen­sion of fur­ther Com­mu­ni­ty assis­tance to Syr­ia in light of developments.

7. The EU recalls that it will not take fur­ther steps with regard to the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with Syr­ia and there­fore the sign­ing of the Agree­ment is not on the agenda.

8. On the 9th of May the EU decid­ed to impose restric­tive mea­sures against Syr­ia and per­sons respon­si­ble for the vio­lent repres­sion against the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion with a view to achiev­ing a fun­da­men­tal change of pol­i­cy by the Syr­i­an lead­er­ship with­out delay. The Coun­cil has decid­ed to fur­ther strength­en these restric­tive mea­sures by des­ig­nat­ing addi­tion­al per­sons, includ­ing at the high­est lev­el of lead­er­ship. The EU is deter­mined to take fur­ther mea­sures with­out delay should the Syr­i­an lead­er­ship choose not to change swift­ly its cur­rent path. ” 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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