Brussels: The European Union has no plans to
withdraw its head of delegation from Syria, a spokesman said
Tuesday, stressing that the EU needs a presence there to "report
Britain, Belgium, Italy and France have recalled their
ambassadors from Damascus for consultations, while the United
States has closed down its mission over the brutal crackdown
on protests in Syria.
"We have no plan at all from the (EU) External Action
Service to withdraw our head of delegation in Damascus at this
point in time," Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton, told a news briefing.
"We believe it`s important to have people on the ground
particularly as there is no free press in the country so that
we can report and observe what is going on," he said.
The EU`s representative in Syria, Vassilis Bontosoglou,
has been in Damascus since 2007.
Western powers have denounced the decision on Saturday by
Russia and China to veto a motion before the UN Security
Council to condemn Syria, and Assad`s forces have stepped up
their assault on the rebel city of Homs.
Mann said the EU`s foreign service will continue "to do
everything we can diplomatically" with the 27 EU states and
international partners "to try and bring an end to this
totally unacceptable situation."
The EU continues to support Arab League efforts to end
the nearly year-old crackdown, the spokesman said.
"We think that this should be an Arab-led process," Mann
said. "We call upon the international community to take its
responsibilities and to have an international solution to this
The UN resolution rejected by Moscow and Beijing was
proposed by European and Arab nations to give strong backing
to the League`s plan.