Netherlands to host international talks on Syria
In September the Netherlands will be hosting the fourth meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions. This coalition of like-minded countries meets regularly to discuss sanctions against Syria and ways of getting more countries to join in them. During the meeting in the Netherlands, the main focus will be on improving the sanctions against the Syrian regime. ‘I hope that by that time the situation in Syria will have changed for the better. But now we need to step up pressure on the regime,’ said foreign minister Uri Rosenthal.
The Friends of the Syrian People believe that sanctions, as well as support for the opposition and humanitarian aid, are an important means of putting an end to the violence in Syria and getting the political process off the ground. Mr Rosenthal wants to increase pressure on the regime with more sanctions, supported and enforced by as many countries as possible. ‘We need to seal all the loopholes, making it difficult for countries to evade the sanctions. As chair of the meeting, I hope to help it draw unanimous conclusions on this issue.’
Qatar, which is chairing a working group meeting in Doha this week, has asked the Netherlands to host the fourth meeting. The Netherlands has agreed to organise the event, together with Canada and possibly an Arab country. Mr Rosenthal will open the meeting. Around 50 countries are represented in the working group, including some of Syria’s neighbours and representatives of the Arab League. Paris and Washington were the venues of earlier meetings.