Syrian Uprising: Hague Calls For More Sanctions As Violence Goes On
Foreign Secretary William Hague today called for more sanctions against Syria in the wake of continuing "appalling" violence.
Activists reported shelling in the embattled city of Homs and Idlib in the north-west.
Meanwhile China rejected US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's criticism of their "despicable" refusal to condemn President Bashar al-Assad's regime, arguing it was acting in the best interests of the Syrian people.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Hague called for an extension of current financial sanctions against members of the Assad regime by freezing European-held assets of the Syrian Central Bank.
He also dismissed yesterday's Syrian "referendum" as of no relevance to international efforts to impose a "diplomatic and economic stranglehold on the Assad regime" to "choke off support for its campaign of terror".
Hague joined the talks following Friday's Tunis meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group, where US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton renewed attacks on the veto by Russia and China of a United Nations Security resolution condemning Syria.
On Monday China said that Clinton's criticism of their stance on the violence was "totally unacceptable"
"They are setting themselves not only against the Syrian people but also the entire Arab awakening," Clinton said of China and Russia on Friday.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded: "this is totally unacceptable for us. China has always determined its stance on the Syrian issue proceeding from the peace and stability of Syria and the Middle East".
Meanwhile, the EU foreign ministers were trying to reinforce their economic measures against Syria, which already include an arms embargo, a ban on EU exports of oil and gas equipment to Syria, and visa and asset bans against more than 100 members of the ruling regime including President Assad.
The expected freeze on assets of the Syrian central bank is intended to help limit funding the continuing violent crackdown on the regime's opposition.
Elsewhere activists reported continued violence against civilians, and told of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Homs.
The London-based Strategic Research and Communication Centre said 60 people died on Sunday in rocket and mortar attacks in Homs and other towns.
A resident of Baba Amr told activist network Avaaz that the Baba Amr region was now completely dry of clean water:
"We have not drunk clean water in three days. This is very worrying. Thirst is now the main issue. We have only dates to eat."
President Assad's regime also continued to ignore calls for a ceasefire in order to evacuated the hundreds wounded in Baba Amr, who include two foreign journalists.
Also on Monday a judge conducting an inquiry into press standards praised Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin who died alongside French photojournalist Remi Ochlik, 28, in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on February 22.
Both died after a house where they were staying was shelled by Syrian government forces.
Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy and French reporter Edith Bouvier, of Le Figaro newspaper, were injured in the attack.
Lord Justice Leveson said: "There is no better example of the very best in journalism than that provided by Marie Colvin."