European Union leaders will urge the
international community to step up the pressure on Syria by applying
sanctions under a United Nations procedure that could eventually lead
to military action, draft summit conclusions showed on Thursday.
The leaders' two-day meeting in Brussels, which will end on Friday, is set to be dominated by economic issues, but Syria's deadly crackdown on regime opponents is also on the agenda.
"The European Council called for united action by the UN Security Council to add more robust and effective pressure, including the adoption of comprehensive sanctions under Chapter 7," the draft, seen by dpa, reads.
Chapter 7 foresees both military and non-military responses to "any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression." Over the last month, calls for its use have increased, with the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar among its supporters.
The non-military options include "complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations," according to the UN Charter.
It also allows, however, for "the use of armed forces" if the non-military sanctions prove to be "inadequate."
Most observers have ruled out a foreign military intervention in Syria so far because of the country's complex geography, complicated ethnic make-up and advanced military, among other things.
But the international community's other initiatives - most notably sanctions - have so far failed to halt the violence during the 16-month uprising, in which the United Nations estimates more than 9,500 people have been killed.
International efforts to step up the pressure on Syria have so far been hampered by Russia and China. Foreign ministers from the two countries are set to take part in a meeting of UN, EU and Arab League officials in Geneva on Saturday to discuss Syria.
EU leaders, meanwhile, were set to again condemn the violence, call for it to stop, urge an investigation into human rights violations and encourage opposition groups to unite.
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