Paris: France has decided to withdraw its
ambassador from Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman said
on Tuesday, amid the ongoing bloody crackdown on a revolt against
Bashar al-Assad`s rule.
"Faced with the worsening repression being carried out by
the Damascus regime against its own population, French
authorities have decided to recall France`s ambassador to
Syria for consultations," Bernard Valero said.
"We have begun discussions with our partners in Brussels
to reinforce sanctions once again," he added, referring to the
European Union`s economic measures against Assad`s government
and major supporters.
Paris`s decision came after Italy, Britain and the United
States also withdrew their envoys. Valero said the French
ambassador would be back in Paris "within the next few days".
The 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.
Meanwhile, Russia`s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was
visiting Syria, and Turkey`s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan announced a new initiative "with those countries who
stand by the Syrian people, not the regime."
Valero said France was following Turkey`s plan carefully,
but so far had little information about it. He called on
Lavrov to use Russia`s influence to pressure Syria into
accepting a regional peace plan.
"We expect Mr Lavrov will use his visit to Damascus to
make the regime understand its isolation and to support the
Arab League plan, a brave initiative that must be the basis of
any solution," he said.
The spokesman noted that yesterday, France`s Foreign
Minister Alain Juppe had met with the leadership of the Syrian
opposition in exile and had called regional leaders to discuss