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British Foreign Secretary William Hague said nations were considering action against Syria in meetings on the sidelines of an international conference in London. Mr. Hague said he would discuss “what we can achieve” with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and many of the Arab League leaders .

Officials say Britain, the United States, Turkey, Qatar and others plan talks on the margins of a conference on Somalia.

At a major meeting in Tunis set for Friday, more than 70 nations are expected to look at ways to assist Mr. Assad’s opponents, who now include defected military officers and soldiers.

Mr. Hague told BBC radio that military intervention was very unlikely, as “the consequences of any outside intervention are much harder to foresee.”

A senior EU official said foreign ministers meeting in Brussels next week will add seven Syrian government ministers to those already sanctioned. Sanctions include asset freezes and visa bans for officials, commanders of the security forces and others considered responsible for human rights abuses.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of EU rules, said additional restrictions may be imposed on Syria‘s central bank, on imports of precious metals from the country, and on cargo flights.

The EU already has sanctioned more than 70 Syrians and 19 organizations and has banned imports of Syrian crude oil.