BEIRUT

Middle East

EU sanctions 'desperate' reaction to Syria vote: govt

A woman holds a picture of re-elected Syrian President Bashar Assad as she celebrates in Damascus after he was announced as the winner of the country's presidential elections on June 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID

DAMASCUS: Syria's foreign ministry said Tuesday that new EU sanctions were a "desperate, miserable" reaction to an early June presidential election that kept Bashar Assad in power.

The criticism came a day after EU foreign ministers agreed that 12 Syrian government ministers would be hit with travel bans and asset freezes "given their responsibility for serious human rights violations."

The decision means EU sanctions now cover 191 Syrian figures implicated in the three-year civil war.

The foreign ministry lashed out at the EU decision, branding it as "a continuation of the aggressive EU policy against Syria."

It described the new sanctions as a "desperate, miserable response to the amazing success that the Syrian people achieved in the presidential election," according to a statement published by state news agency SANA.

The controversial June 3 election was held in regime-controlled areas of Syria, despite a war that has killed more than 162,000 people.

Assad ran against two candidates branded by the exiled opposition and activists as token rivals, and won nearly 90 percent of the vote.

Syria's war began as a peaceful uprising demanding political change. Protesters took up arms several months after the Assad regime unleashed a massive crackdown against dissent.

 

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