You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The Latest: EU imposes sanctions on 18 more Syrian officials

Associated Press Associated Press 14/11/2016
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, speaks with Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen, right, and Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, left, during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. EU foreign ministers meet Monday to discuss strained ties with Turkey and trans-Atlantic ties. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) © The Associated Press German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, speaks with Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen, right, and Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, left, during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. EU foreign ministers meet Monday to discuss strained ties with Turkey and trans-Atlantic ties. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS — The Latest on European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The European Union has slapped travel bans and asset freezes on 17 senior Syrian government officials and the governor of the conflict-torn country's central bank.

EU foreign ministers made the move at talks in Brussels Monday against those "responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons."

The list includes 13 cabinet members and four ministers of state.

It brings to 234 the total number of people subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze for repression against civilians in Syria.

__

2:35 p.m.

European Union foreign ministers have given the green light to draw up a new agreement on closer ties with the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.

At talks in Brussels Monday, the ministers adopted a mandate for the European Commission and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to negotiate the pact.

The agreement would replace a partnership accord between the two dating from 1996 and "should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges" they now face, a statement said.

The aim is to "provide a solid basis for long-term relations" with oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan, which lies on the Caspian Sea and neighbors Georgia, Russia, Armenia and Iran.

___

2:05 p.m.

European Union foreign ministers have reaffirmed their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has branded the "worst deal in the world" and vowed to renegotiate.

The ministers say Monday that "the European Union reiterates its resolute commitment" to the plan that EU heavyweights Britain, France and Germany, along with the U.S., China and Russia, agreed upon with Iran.

It includes lifting "nuclear related economic and financial sanctions and engaging with the private sector and economic operators, especially banks, to promote growth in trade and investment."

While campaigning, Trump called the pact agreed last year a "lopsided disgrace" and railed against its time-limited restrictions on Iran's enrichment of uranium and other nuclear activity. But Trump's exact plans are vague, and renegotiating a deal Iran is already happy with would be difficult.

___

11:45 a.m.

Poland's foreign minister says U.S. President-elect Donald Trump doesn't add to the European Union's existing problems.

Witold Waszczykowski spoke following informal dinner talks that EU foreign ministers held Sunday in Brussels to discuss prospects for trans-Atlantic ties under Trump.

He said that "regardless of whether we see Donald Trump as a person who is not an angel, he isn't a child with special needs either that would require special relations, special discussions."

Members of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party believe bilateral ties will strengthen under Trump's presidency.

Waszczykowski said it was a "bit exaggerated" for the EU to be having discussions about relations with the U.S. under Trump.

He said that "Europe has many problems, but definitely not with America."

___

11:25 a.m.

Britain's foreign secretary says Donald Trump's U.S. presidency could be a "moment of opportunity" for Europe, even as other EU diplomats worry about Trump's isolationist, protectionist promises.

Boris Johnson spoke Monday before EU foreign ministers' talks in Brussels. The top diplomats held a special meeting Sunday night about the U.S. election, and they hope to boost Europe's role in world affairs until Trump's plans become clearer.

Johnson, who championed Britain's exit from the EU, said Trump "is a deal maker and I think that could be a good thing for Britain, but it can also a good thing for Europe. I think that's what we need to focus on today."

Other foreign ministers said Europe should focus on boosting its own defense, tensions with Turkey and war in Syria.

___

9:55 a.m.

European Union foreign ministers are trying to reach a common stance on Turkey over the government crackdown on political opponents and the media.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said she and the ministers would strive Monday for "a common, united position on developments in Turkey."

Turkey and the EU have been locked in a war of words over Ankara's commitment to democracy and rule of law in the wake of the failed coup in the country in July.

The crackdown has raised questions about Turkey's EU membership prospects.

EU officials say it's time for Ankara to say whether it really wants to join, but Mogherini said the future of membership wouldn't be on the table at Monday's talks in Brussels.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon