Shell resists calls to pull out of Syria, doubts boycott effectiveness

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell does not plan to unilaterally stop its activities in Syria but will comply with international or European Union sanctions, Shell Nederland director Dick Benschop told MPs on Tuesday evening, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

A number of opposition parties have called on Shell to pull out of Syria, where the death toll during violent anti-government protests has now mounted to 2,200. The oil group is one of the biggest foreign investors in the country.

The paper says Shell believes the safety of its staff is paramount and that it is up to politicians to impose sanctions. The company’s own guidelines on responsible entrepreneurship also play a role in determining its position, the paper quoted Benschop as saying.

After the meeting, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, who led the calls for the pull-out, said he would like Shell to seize the initiative and look at how a boycott could be formulated.

And GroenLinks MP Liesbeth van Tongeren said the oil giant should go it alone. ‘Shell is so big and has so much strategic power that it can act alone to set an example,’ she said.


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