The Syrian government on Monday (July 23rd) rejected a call by the Arab League for President Bashar Assad to step down, AFP reported.
Speaking at a press conference, Syrian foreign ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said, "This decision only concerns the Syrian people, who are the sole masters of fate of their governments."
The Arab League on Monday had called on Assad to abdicate power in order to end the fighting that has swept across the country.
"There is agreement on the need for the rapid resignation of President Bashar Assad," Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said after the League's ministerial meeting in Doha.
The Arab League is also urging the opposition Free Syrian Army to form a transitional government of national unity, Al Thani said.
Also on Monday, the European Union looked at ways of boosting humanitarian relief for Syrian refugees and levied new sanctions and an arms embargo against al-Assad's regime.
"Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are in a desperate situation," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
Cyprus, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, has warned that up to 200,000 foreign nationals may have to be evacuated from Syria, many of them also holding Syrian passports.
European Union ministers on Monday also froze the assets of an additional 26 Syrians and three companies.
"We have to continue the pressure on Syria," said Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. "Sanctions are an important part of the pressure."
Officials provided no details on the people targeted by this set of sanctions, which make up the 17th round of sanctions since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.
EU officials also agreed for member states to inspect all vessels and planes suspected of carrying arms to Damascus when passing through their territory.