Several Non-EU States To Apply Changes Made To Syria Oil Sanctions

Several non-EU countries have agreed to apply the European bloc's recent decision to exempt oil trade from its sanctions imposed earlier on Syria, said a statement issued by EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council had voted in April to adopt Decision 2013/186/CFSP, which makes several changes to the previous Council Decision 2012/739/CFSP, which imposed oil sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, under certain restrictive measures to help the Syrian civilian population as the rebels attempting to topple the regime.

"Council Decision 2013/186/CFSP determines in particular that EU Member-States may authorize under certain conditions the purchase, import or transport from Syria of crude oil and petroleum products, including the provision of related financing or financial assistance; the sale, supply or transfer of key equipment and technology for certain key sectors of the oil and natural gas industry in Syria, including the provision of related technical assistance and other services; and investments in the Syrian oil industry sectors of exploration, production or refining," according to the statement.

Under Council Decision 2013/186/CFSP, authorizations may be granted provided that the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces is consulted in advance; the activities concerned do not benefit a listed person or entity and that these activities do not breach any of the prohibitions laid down in Council Decision 2012/739/CFSP.

The press release said eleven non-EU states, comprising Croatia, Turkey, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova and Georgia, have agreed to align themselves with this decision.

"They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision. The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it," the press release said.

Incidentally, EU Foreign Ministers had adopted Council Decision 2012/739/CFSP in 2011 as part of the European bloc's efforts to persuade the Syrian regime to halt its crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in the Middle East nation.

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