The Syrian Central bank
The Syrian Central bank is pictured in Damascus, May 2011. Syria is dealing "wisely" with international sanctions imposed on it over the regime's deadly crackdown on dissent, its central bank's deputy governor said on Thursday. © Louai Beshara - AFP/File
The Syrian Central bank
AFP
Last updated: September 16, 2011

Central Bank official: Syria wisely dealing with sanction

Syria is dealing "wisely" with international sanctions imposed on it over the regime's deadly crackdown on dissent, its central bank's deputy governor said on Thursday.

"Syria is dealing with the international sanctions wisely and with good administration," Mohammed al-Erbeni said on the sidelines of a meeting of governors of Arab central banks held in the Qatari capital Doha.

Syrian reserves, which he put at $18 billion (13 billion euros) are "stable, and there are no concerns regarding deposits which were withdrawn at the beginning of the crisis but are flowing back into banks," he said.

"We are in a good condition," he said as EU member countries move to adopt further sanctions against the Syrian regime, which could include a ban on funding the Syrian central bank with notes printed in Europe.

On September 7, Syrian Finance Minister Mohammed Jleilati acknowledged EU sanctions could harm the economy.

"The current circumstances, no doubt, have some negative impact on the economy. We hope to overcome it through reforms," he said.

Earlier this month, the EU adopted a ban on crude oil imports. That was expected to hit hard, as the EU buys 95 percent of Syria's oil exports, providing a third of the regime's hard currency earnings.

The European grouping had already frozen the assets of and imposed travel bans on 50 people and eight businesses and organisations, and has added four Syrian businessmen accused of bankrolling the regime and three businesses to its list.

It has also had an arms embargo in place since May 9.

The United Nations estimates the crackdown on protests has killed 2,600, mostly civilians, since March, while rights groups say thousands of people have been arrested.

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