Australia summons Syrian envoy over bloodshed

Australian FM Kevin Rudd summoned the Syrian envoy to convey his grave concerns about the nation`s worsening crisis to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

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

"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.


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