EU sanctions against Syria to frighten foreign investors

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 23 /Trend, A.Tagiyeva/

Despite the favorable conditions created for foreign investors in Syria, the EU sanctions, imposed against the country on Friday, can reduce their interest even after lifting of sanctions because of concerns over the unstable situation in the country, said the head of the Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies Yusri Ezbavi.

"Syria was an interesting country for investors. Imposing sanctions against it will lower interest even after their lifting," Ezbavi told Trend on Friday by telephone from Cairo.

According to expert, the example of Egypt and Tunisia, which even after the regime change can not reign stability, can alert the foreign investors who fear further instability in Syria, currently covered by anti-government demonstrations.

The new sanctions package includes a ban on investing in Syria's oil sector, providing international bank loans, acquiring and expanding shares in Syrian companies and creating joint venture.

According to Ezbavi, the EU was in no hurry with imposing sanctions against Syria, of which GDP in 2010 exceeded $107 billion, since foreign investors in the country served as a lever of pressure on the government for the West, who used them to monitor the state's relations with Israel.

As for sanctions against Syria's oil sector, the expert said they will have a major impact on the domestic economy, but will slightly affect world oil prices.

"Syrian oil export is insignificant for the West. After establishment of relative stability in Libya and resumption of deliveries of Libyan oil, the loss of Syria as a supplier of oil to the West will not have serious consequences," he said.

Last week the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign. The MEPs also demanded from Syrian authorities to immediately cease the use of force against demonstrators.

Mass riots began in Dera'a, a Syrian city, in mid March following the arrest of a group of schoolchildren who had written anti-government slogans on the walls. People appeared in the streets demanding the teenagers' release. Troops entered the city to suppress anti-government protests, using tanks and artillery to disperse mass demonstrations.

According to the UN, more than 2,700 people were killed in Syria since the protests began more than six months ago. Syrian authorities say that altogether, about 1,400 died on both sides. Opposition demands the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and his political transformation. The U.S. and E.U. urged Assad to resign.

According to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011, Syria's proven reserves as of Jan. 1 this year amounted to 2.5 billion barrels of oil and 300 billion cubic meters of gas. In 2010, Syria produced 19 million tons of oil and 7.8 billion cubic meters of gas.

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