WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Member states of the "Friends of Syria" on Wednesday reached an agreement on taking further measures, including asset freeze, arms embargo, among others, in a bid to remove Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad from power.
Expressing "deep dissatisfaction" with Assad's "failure" to implement the peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan, the group, formally known as the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions, noted in a statement the "substantial agreement" that "further measures will be necessary" to push Assad aside and start a political transition.
"In this regard, the Group expressed support for taking steps toward a United Nations Security Council Chapter VII resolution, as called for last week by the Arab League, that would include the imposition of sanctions by member states on the Assad regime, including asset freezes, travel bans, an arms embargo and other measures," said the statement issued after the conclusion of the group's one-day meeting.
The so-called Chapter 7 action in the U.N. Security Council authorizes actions, including military and non-military action.
Recognizing the steps that have been taken thus far, the group called on all member countries to "fully implement and enforce existing sanctions."
The group also called for an asset freeze and travel ban on senior Syrian officials, an asset freeze on and restriction of transactions with the Central Bank of Syria and the Commercial Bank of Syria, an embargo on Syria's oil exports, and a "formal ban" on the shipment of arms to the Arab country.
Other measures the group championed for include discouraging business community from engaging in transactions with Syria and urging the business leaders within Syria to withdrawal support for the Assad regime.
Both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday called for tougher sanctions against Syria in a bid to hasten political change in the country.
"Strong sanctions, effectively implemented, aggressively enforced, can help deprive the Syrian regime of the resources it needs to sustain itself and to continue its repression of the Syrian people," Geithner said in a prepared speech before the Wednesday meeting which drew representatives from nearly 60 nations.
The first meeting of the International Working Group on Sanctions against Syria was held in Paris in April.