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The 27 strengthen their arms embargo on Syria

(BRUSSELS2) The “27” decided today (July 23) to strengthen their arms embargo against Syria. This measure, in force since May 2011, was, for the moment, for political and symbolic purposes. Member States have the obligation to ensure that it is respected but leave them free to act according to their own rules. No precise and specific measure had, until now, been taken at European level. This has fueled several cases of ships loaded with weapons bound for Syria.

This Monday, a small step will be taken with the obligation for Member States to inspect planes and ships suspected of transporting weapons to Syria. A measure in preparation for several months at European level. It will not be a maritime embargo like that implemented by NATO for Libya or more formerly by the WEU off the coast of the former Yugoslavia. These were in fact based on a United Nations resolution which, in the Syrian crisis, is lacking. This will involve reinforced control in ports or in territorial waters. “ When they have good reason to presume to suspect such cargoes, States will be obliged to do so, depending on the means of inspection available to Member States.. explains a European official. The states " will still be likely to request the consent of the State which chartered the suspect vessel if international maritime law on territorial waters so requires..

Note that the blacklist of Syrian officials banned from visas in the EU and whose assets are frozen has grown by 26 additional names and three new entities. This is the 17th set of sanctions since the start of the conflict.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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