Australia summons Syrian envoy over bloodshed
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 08, 2012, 17:25
Sydney: Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday summoned the Syrian envoy to convey his "grave concerns" about the nation's worsening crisis to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Rudd called Syria's charge d'affaires Jawdat Ali to parliament as Assad's forces pounded the city of Homs for a fourth day and vowed no let-up, prompting several European nations to withdraw their diplomats from the Middle East nation.

"Mr Rudd underlined that the Assad regime had lost its legitimacy when it started deploying arms against its own people and that it was time for Assad to leave," a spokeswoman for Rudd said.

"Evidence of violence, including the recent loss of life in Homs, was indisputable," she added of Rudd's messages to the ambassador.

"The growing evidence of human rights abuses, possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, and torture and arbitrary detention was unacceptable."

Rudd had urged Assad to "find an exit strategy before the situation in Syria degenerates further and more lives are lost," calling for an end to the bloodshed and a "peaceful, Syrian-led political solution to this crisis".

He asked that his sentiments be "conveyed directly to the Syrian government in Damascus including to the foreign minister and Assad", the spokeswoman said.

Australia upped its sanctions against Syria this week to include 75 new individuals and 27 entities, also donating a further USD 3.2 million to Red Cross efforts in the strife-torn nation, on top of three million Australian dollars already pledged.


First Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2012, 17:25

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