Assad must go: EU's Catherine Ashton
Nicosia (Cyprus): Foreign ministers of countries in the European Union (EU), who met for a two-day meeting in Cyprus, demanded the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Xinhua reported.
"The message out of the discussions at the informal meeting of the European foreign ministers in connection with the crisis in Syria is that President Assad must go," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was quoted as saying.
Ashton said the EU will offer its support to the UN's new envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in his efforts to find a peaceful solution.
"He (Brahimi) must reach a political solution so as to end the violence in Syria," Ashton said.
She said more sanctions may be imposed on the Syrian regime to force its resignation.
The EU will cooperate with forces opposing Assad so as to help the Syrian people "take their fortunes into their own hands", Xinhua quoted Ashton as saying.
She said the EU was gravely worried about the humanitarian crisis resulting from the fighting and announced that it will offer new help worth 50 million euros ($63 million) for the relief of displaced people.
"We are greatly concerned about people who sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and efforts are under way to help Syria's neighbors," Ashton said.
Ashton also said several foreign ministers raised the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme at the meeting and suggested that more sanctions should be imposed on Tehran.
"We appeal to Iran to enter into discussions with us on its nuclear programme. We want to make sure that its nuclear programme is of a peaceful nature," Ashton said.