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Monday, 17 July 2017

EU Commission: Use of chemical weapons in Syria: EU imposes sanctions against 16 additional persons

Use of chemical weapons in Syria: EU imposes sanctions against 16 additional persons

On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime. The EU added these16 persons for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, in line with the EU's policy to fight the proliferation and use of chemical weapons. These persons include 8 high-ranking military officials and 8 scientists involved in chemical weapons proliferation and delivery. The EU had already imposed  restrictive measures on high ranking officials , most recently on 4 March 2017  for the use of chemical weapons. 

Today's decision brings to 255 persons the total number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an assets freeze for being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons. 

In addition, 67 entities are targeted by an assets freeze. More broadly, sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU, export restrictions on equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications. These measures were last extended on 29 May 2017 and are in place until 1 June 2018. 

The EU remains committed to finding a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework. As stated in the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017, the EU believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict and strongly supports the work of the UN Special Envoy and the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.  

As the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis with over €9.4 billion from the EU and member states collectively allocated in humanitarian and development assistance since the start of the conflict, the EU continues to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrians, including those who are under siege or in areas which are hard to reach. The EU response also includes support to international institutions which work to ensure accountability for violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law. 

The EU will be ready to assist in the reconstruction of Syria only when a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition, negotiated by the Syrian parties in the conflict on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, is firmly under way. 

The legal acts adopted by the Council, including the names of the persons concerned, are published in the Official Journal of 18 July 2017. 

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EU priorities at the United Nations and the 72nd UN General Assembly

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly. 

The key EU priority will be to uphold, strengthen and reform the UN and the rules based global order. For the 72nd UNGA, the EU will focus on a stronger global governance, on peace and conflict prevention and on an enduring agenda for transformation. Gender equality and women's empowerment as well as women, peace and security will be mainstreamed into all three priority areas. 

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Ukraine: Council adopts temporary trade preferences

On 17 July 2017, the Council adopted a set of temporary autonomous trade measures in favour of Ukraine. These measures should enter into force by the end of September and will apply for a period of three years. 

"With today's decision, we are allowing more Ukrainian products to be exported to the EU. It is our duty to support Ukraine and strengthen our economic and political ties, also in the face of the ongoing conflict on its soil."

Sven Mikser, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, which currently holds the Council presidency 

The proposal is aimed at improving access for Ukrainian exporters to the EU market, in view of the difficult economic situation and the economic reform efforts undertaken by Ukraine.

It adds to trade provisions already introduced under an EU-Ukraine association agreement that have been provisionally applied since 1 January 2016 and that will formally enter into force on 1 September 2017.

Today's decision is the final step necessary to formally adopt the regulation. The European Parliament adopted the text on 4 July. The text should be published and enter into force shortly after the signature of the text by the co-legislators during the EP's plenary session in September.

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Pakistan: Council adopts conclusions

The Council adopted conclusions on Pakistan, stating that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.

Over the past years, the bilateral relations between the EU and Pakistan have been deepened through the implementation of the 5-year engagement plan adopted in 2012. The EU has also intensified institutional dialogues across priority areas including, political cooperation, security, governance, human rights, migration, trade and energy. Further dialogues have been set up in new areas such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and disarmament. 

Work is ongoing between the EU and Pakistan on a political framework to replace the 5-year Engagement Plan through a new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan. 

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Daily News 17 / 07 / 2017

European Commission - Daily News Daily News 17 / 07 / 2017 Brussels, 17 July 2017 Debate on the Future of Europe: 1,750 events so far with the potential to reach over 30 million Europeans In March 2017, the Commission kick-started a debate on the future of Europe with its...

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