Foreign Ministers of the 27-member European Union bloc on Monday called on Turkey not to get provoked over Syria's downing of its military aircraft over the Mediterranean and urged for a calm response.
"We're very concerned about what's happened and very concerned for the family of the two pilots who are missing," EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said in Luxembourg ahead of Tuesday's NATO meeting to discuss the issue. "We will be obviously looking to Turkey to be restrained in its response," she added.
A NATO member awaiting entry into the EU, Turkey has accused Syria of shooting down its military aircraft without warning after it briefly strayed into Syrian airspace by mistake on Friday. The jet's two pilots are still missing after the incident.
The meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers added one person and six companies and other entities to its existing sanctions list against Syria. So far, the EU has imposed asset freezes and visa bans on more than 100 people responsible for or associated with the violent crackdown on the Syrian people by the Assad regime and an asset freeze on 43 entities.
Stating that the shooting down of the Turkish jet did not fundamentally alter the situation in Syria, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for increased pressure on the Assad regime. "I don't think it illustrates a different phase. It is very important that we increase the pressure with additional sanctions. Other countries will be very active in arguing for a new resolution from the (United Nations) Security Council," media reports quoted him as saying.
Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have jointly vetoed efforts by Western powers to condemn Assad for unabated violence in that Middle East Country.
The Turkish Cabinet is meeting later on Friday to discuss the jet incident, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was still reluctant for an armed response to the incident.
by RTT Staff Writer
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