UK welcomes Syrian National Council, calls on Assad to step aside now

London - Amal Hasson - British Foreign Secretary William Hague delivered a statement on the Middle East and North Africa at the UK parliament, welcoming the formation of the Syrian National Council and calling on Assad to step aside now and allow others to take forward reform

UK welcomes Syrian National Council, calls on Assad to step aside now
“In Syria. 2,900 people have died at the hands of the regime and its Armed Forces in just seven months, including 187 children. Along with the United States and our European partners we tabled a draft UN Security Council Resolution condemning the Syrian regime’s use of force, calling for an end to violence and threatening sanctions while ruling out military force. Nine of the fifteen members of the UNSC voted in favour of this Resolution, but Russia and China regrettably chose to block it. It is a mistake on their part to side with a brutal regime rather than with the people of Syria."
"We will go on working with other nations to intensify the pressure on the regime. On 24 September, the seventh round of EU sanctions came into force. They now target a total of 56 regime figures and 18 Syrian entities and include an arms embargo and a ban on the purchase, import or transport from Syria of crude oil and petroleum products. As the European Union previously imported over 90% of Syria’s crude oil, and in 2010 oil revenues accounted for a quarter of all Syria state revenues, the import ban will have a significant impact. We expect the EU to adopt further sanctions soon against a key regime entity. Turkey has also announced plans to adopt unilateral measures against Syria. We will look to work with them and other like-minded partners to increase the pressure on the regime, as well as continuing discussions at the United Nations.”

“Too much blood has been spilled for this regime to recover its credibility. President Assad should step aside now and allow others to take forward reform. We urge the Syrian opposition to develop a peaceful vision for the future of their country, and welcome the formation of the new Syrian National Council. Yesterday My Honourable Friend the member for North East Bedfordshire, the Under Secretary of State met senior members of the Council in Paris, and I met Syrian activists in London at the end of last month. The Syrian Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office this morning and told that any harassment or intimidation of Syrians in our country is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Foreign Office Summon Syrian Ambassador

The Syrian Ambassador to London, Dr Sami Khiami, was today summoned to the Foreign Office given FCO’s continuing concern over reports that Syrian Embassy staff are harassing and intimidating Syrians living in Britain. Speaking after the meeting, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said:

“I am deeply concerned by continued reports suggesting harassment and intimidation by Syrian diplomats in the UK. In summoning the Syrian Ambassador today the UK made very clear that any such behaviour will not be tolerated and must immediately stop. We will take appropriate action on evidence that such action is happening and continue to encourage anyone who has experienced harassment or intimidation to report this to the Police. They continue to investigate allegations and we are working with them closely”.
Global Arab Network

Thursday, October 13th 2011
- Amal Hasson

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