US, EU Warn of New Steps Soon Against Syria
The United States and European Union are warning of new action against the Syrian government in the coming days if it does not halt its crackdown against protesters. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton discussed Syria and efforts to get Iran back to big-power nuclear talks.
Clinton and Ashton made clear they are losing patience with Syrian leaders and their reform promises, and are indicating that new sanctions or other punitive steps against Damascus are imminent.
Meeting reporters after talks at the State Department, the two expressed alarm about reports this week of mounting casualties in clashes between Syrian security forces and demonstrators.
Both the United States and European Union have imposed sanctions against Syrian officials implicated in the violence, but have not yet directly targeted President Bashar al-Assad.
Ashton said she spoke with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim last week and told him the Damascus government needs to take advantage of what she termed a “closing window of opportunity” and change course.