Estonia backs Syria sanctions

  • 2011-05-13
  • TBT Staff

The hostages appeared in a video that was traced back to Syria.

TALLINN -- The Estonian government has announced that it will in fact back intensified sanctions against Syria after fears were raised that the country would block the motion.

The sanctions will block Syrian leadership from travelling within the EU. They were formally adopted on May 9.

The EUobserver reported last week that Estonia would block increased sanctions against the Syrian regime over fears for the lives of seven tourists abducted in Lebanon in late March.

"The case of seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Lebanon is a hidden reason for Estonia's reluctance to back EU sanctions on Syrian officials," the article said.

A previously unknown terror group kidnapped the men as they were cycling through Lebanon shortly after having crossed the Syrian border. A video of the hostages that was later released was traced back to an IP address in Damascus.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet had denied the allegations, saying that Estonia's goals were in line with the rest of the EU.

"Estonia, and I presume all EU nations, wish to make a thought-out decision in order for the sanctions to actually help achieve their goal. And the goal is to end violence in Syria," he said.

Seven cyclists were kidnapped by masked gunmen on March 23 near Zahle, Lebanon's third largest city, shortly after crossing over the border from Syria.