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Assad's wife can enter Britain, but not expected to: Hague

23 March 2012, 15:57 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma cannot be barred entry to Britain despite Friday's EU travel ban but is not expected to head there in current circumstances, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

"British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom," Hague said.

"But given that we are imposing an asset freeze on all of these individuals and a travel ban on other members of the same family and the regime, we are not expecting Mrs Assad to try to travel to the United Kingdom at the moment."

Assad's stylish British-born and British-educated wife was among 12 people targeted by a European Union travel ban and asset freeze Friday, which also included his mother, sister and sister-in-law.

Speaking to reporters after EU foreign ministers ramped up the pressure on Assad with a 13th round of sanctions, Hague said: "It's a sign of determination of all the nation of the European Union and of the European Union as a whole to intensify the pressure, the diplomatic and economic stranglehold on this regime."

A further two companies were also added to a blacklist of around 150 individuals and firms targeted by EU sanctions.

Hague said the two firms were both oil companies but did not name them.

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