RealNews

Syria-EU Trade Deal Stalls Over Chemical Weapons Issue

Syrian efforts to cut a trade deal with Europe before the possible imposition of U.S. sanctions have stalled over attempts to pressure the government of President Bashar Assad to renounce its chemical weapons programs, European diplomats and Syrian officials say. The deadlock with the European Union means that Syria faces possible U.S. economic and diplomatic sanctions without the cushion of eased trade with West European countries. Syrian officials complain that the EU, under pressure from the Bush administration, had stiffened requirements for it to join a trade initiative that would have reduced tariffs and opened trade between the EU and countries along the Mediterranean. Under EU rules set last year, accords between the EU and non-EU countries must include language upholding bans on weapons of mass destruction. Full Story

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