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France to close embassy in Syria, says Sarkozy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-02

France has decided to close its embassy in Damascus, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Friday in Brussels, to protest against a brutal crackdown by Syrian security forces on a year-long uprising that has claimed at least 7,000 lives.

REUTERS - President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday that France would shut its Syrian embassy due to the repression of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad and was ready to step up its support of rebels if the UnitedNations can give a green light.

"We will do nothing without a U.N. Security Council resolution," Sarkozy told a news conference at a European summit in Brussels, noting France supported the creation of a humanitarian zone close to one of Syria's borders.

"There's no question of acting directly or indirectly unlessthe Council has established legal conditions for a humanitarian zone, for arms delivery for the opposition or for corridors."

He said it was "frustrating, when you are seeing the deaths mounting up" but warned that perpetrators of crimes against humanity would be taken before the international criminal court.

"Dictators will all, one day, have to pay for their actions," said Sarkozy.

France will close its embassy in Syria to denounce the "scandalous" repression by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday at the close of an EU summit.

French Foreign Minister "Alain Juppe and I have decided to close our embassy in Syria," Sarkozy told a news conference.

"What is going on is scandalous, there are more than 8,000 dead, hundreds of children, and the city of Homs faces the risk of being wiped off the map. This is absolutely unacceptable," Sarkozy said.

He said the Syrian government's response to attempts to evacuate two injured French reporters, Edith Bouvier and William Daniels -- finally evacuated to Lebanon on Thursday -- has been "particularly unacceptable".

Sarkozy also underlined that the EU in its final conclusions had recognised the Syrian National Council "as a legitimate representative of Syrians".

"I am in favour of organising, at least on Syria's borders, humanitarian zones enabling people persecuted by the Syrian regime to leave," he added.

Date created : 2012-03-02

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