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Russia signals support for Syria sanctions

Meanwhile, President Assad’s wife is reportedly being added to the EU’s sanctions list.

A Syrian woman kisses a poster of Russia's Vladimir Putin during a pro-Syrian government rally on 4 March.
A Syrian woman kisses a poster of Russia's Vladimir Putin during a pro-Syrian government rally on 4 March.
Image: Muzaffar Salman/AP/PA Images

RUSSIA HAS SIGNALLED that it is prepared to back a new UN resolution supporting Kofi Annan’s plan for ending ongoing violence in Syria.

Russia and China have blocked UN sanctions on President Assad’s regime twice before in a show of support for Syria against rising international pressure over the government’s crackdown.

The UN estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in the 12 months since protests inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt broke out in Syria.

Addressing the Russian parliament last week, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov criticised Assad for the slow introduction of reform and warned of the conflict spiralling out of control. Today, he issued a statement saying that the UN Security Council should support Annan’s proposals “not as an ultimatum, but as a basis for the continuing efforts by Kofi Annan aimed at reaching accord between all the Syrians”.

Asma Assad

President Assad’s wife Asma is reportedly being added to the EU’s list of sanctions aimed at pushing the government to end its violent crackdown on protesters, the Guardian quotes an unnamed EU official. However, if she still posses a British passport (she was born in the UK) then she will still be able to travel to and from Britain.

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If she does travel to Britain, though, she could face problems for violating earlier financial sanctions, according to the Telegraph.

The Guardian recently reported that a cache of previously unseen emails had revealed that Asma Assad went on an expensive online shopping spree amid the crackdown. The emails detailed her purchases of bespoke furniture, designer shoes and luxury jewellery

- Additional reporting by Susan Ryan

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