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Iraq says sanctions on Syria ‘not possible’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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NAJAF, (AFP) – Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Saturday that it was “not possible” to impose economic sanctions on Syria due to its commercial ties with Iraq and the large number of Iraqi refugees there.

“It is not possible, in the opinion of Iraq, to impose economic sanctions on Syria,” Zebari told a news conference in the Iraqi shrine city of Najaf.

“We announce our reservation on this issue,” he said, although it was not immediately clear if he meant that Iraq would refuse to enforce a proposed package of Arab sanctions, which was to be discussed by finance ministers on Saturday and foreign ministers on Sunday.

An Arab League deadline for Damascus to accept observers or face sanctions passed on Friday without a response from a defiant Syria.

With the deadline gone, Turkey said Syria’s failure to open its doors to an observer mission heightened concern that Damascus was trying to conceal a worsening humanitarian situation.

Thousands of people have been killed since March as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has tried to suppress a popular uprising.