France to close Syria embassy: Sarkozy

President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday that it will close its embassy in Syria.

Updated: Mar 03, 2012, 12:01 PM IST

Brussels: France will close its embassy in
Syria to denounce the "scandalous" repression by President
Bashar al-Assad`s regime, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday
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 yesterday
and repatriated on today -- 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.

The French ambassador in Damascus, Eric Chevallier, told
that the embassy was preparing to close.

Jihad Makdissi, spokesman for the Syrian foreign
ministry, regretted the decision.

"While it is a sovereign decision by the french
authorities, it is unfortunate," he told.

"I hope that the French diplomacy will put aside the
negative approach and return to be part of the solution and
not a part of the problem in order to help Syria overcome its
painful crisis," he added.

IANS