Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

EU lifts Syria oil embargo to bolster rebels

LUXEMBOURG — The European Union on Monday lifted its oil embargo on Syria to provide more economic support to the forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad's regime.

The decision will allow for crude exports from rebel-held territory, the import of oil and gas production technology, and investments in the Syrian oil industry, the EU said.

Any export or investment initiatives will be taken in close coordination with the leaders of the Syrian opposition, the bloc's 27 foreign ministers decided at a meeting in Luxembourg.

The move marks the first relaxing of EU sanctions on Syria in two years as governments try to help ease shortages of vital supplies in areas held by the opposition.

"We wish for good economic development in the areas controlled by the opposition, therefore we lift the sanctions that hinder the moderate opposition forces' work," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said ahead of the meeting.

The oil exports could open an important revenue stream for Syria's opposition, even though it is still unclear when and how much crude could be exported.

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