Pressure on Syria to increase, German foreign minister warns
The European Union and the Arab League will increase their pressure on Syria if forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad continue their crackdown, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in an interview Tuesday.
However he warned against military intervention, saying the power of economic sanctions should not be underestimated, dpa reported.
"The international isolation of the Syrian regime is advancing, helped by eight rounds of sanctions by the European Union including strong economic sanctions and an EU-wide ban on imports of oil.
"In cooperation with the Arab League, we will further increase the pressure if the Assad regime does not cease the violence against its own people," he told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt.
"The West is not just a bystander and is not looking the other way. The power of sanctions should not be underestimated. Conversely, it is dangerous to constantly be calling for military intervention.
"My foreign policy is and will be based on a culture of military restraint," Westerwelle said.
Asked about reported Israeli plans for a military strike on Iran, he said, "I would warn against putting military options up for debate.
"Over and above all the dangerous ramifications for region, these are debates that strengthen the Iranian leadership rather than weaken it," he said.