Last updated: 20 April, 2012

Assads’ luxury lifestyle is target of new EU sanctions

The Assad couple’s lifestyle is the next target of EU sanctions on the Syrian regime, with the bloc ready to ban exports of luxury items, diplomats said Friday.

“Sanctions are ready,” said an EU diplomat who asked not to be named.

“We will see Monday, depending on the situation on the ground, if European Union foreign ministers decide to adopt them or not” at talks in Luxembourg.

This 14th round of EU sanctions would concern luxury goods and so-called dual-use goods which can be used for internal repression or for the manufacturing of equipment used for internal repression, a senior EU diplomat said.

By targeting luxury items, the EU is “symbolically” targeting the lifestyle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his glamorous British-born wife Asma, said a European diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The Assad couple, as well as his inner circle and leaders of the regime must be made to understand that events in Syria will also impact their personal lives,” the source told AFP.

The EU a month ago tightened the noose on Assad’s family, slapping a travel ban and asset freeze on his wife, mother and sister in the 13th round of EU sanctions in a year.

His immediate family were among 12 people and two oil companies added to an existing EU blacklist totalling 126 people and 41 firms or utilities.

Asked whether the EU would provide logistical support to the UN team monitorihng a ceasefire in Syria, a senior EU diplomat said Brussels had informed UN chief Ban Ki-moon of the bloc’s readiness to back the mission.

“They may need helicopters, armoured cars and trucks or satellite images,” he said. “We can supply all of that and we’re in contact to see exactly what they need.”