US welcomes EU decision on Syria sanctions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is welcoming the European Union's decision to sanction Syrian officials for cracking down on anti-government protesters.
An EU official said the organization next week will freeze the assets of 13 Syrian government officials and ban them from traveling anywhere in the European Union. Syrian President Bashar Assad will not be affected.
Last week, President Barack Obama imposed financial penalties against three top Syrian officials, Syria's intelligence agency and Iran's Revolutionary Guard over the violent crackdown on demonstrators in Syria.
On Friday, the White House warned that the U.S. and its allies will take additional steps to register its disapproval with Syria's behavior.
Witnesses say Syrian security forces fired on protesters Friday as thousands joined nationwide demonstrations demanding an end to Assad's regime.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said: "The Syrian people, like people everywhere, have the inherent right to exercise their universal freedoms, including peaceful assembly, expression, and speech. The Syrian government must respond to the Syrian people's call for change. It must realize that violence and intimidation will not answer their call."