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Press Release: Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton Following the Friends of Syria in Tunis

Press Release: Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton Following the Friends of Syria in Tunis

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Published by: Mar15Syria on Feb 24, 2012
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Brussels, 24 February 2012 A 83/12

Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton following the meeting of the Friends of Syria in Tunis
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, made today the following statement:

"I participated today in the first meeting of the Friends of the Syrian people. As we witnessed last week at the UNGA, the overwhelming response of so many States and organizations shows the strong commitment of the international community to find a solution to the crisis that meets the demands and aspirations of the Syrian people. Since the beginning of the uprising we have condemned the repression, brutality and violation of human rights by the Assad regime against the civilian population. Today we are calling again for an immediate end of violence. The appalling situation in Syria calls for urgent solutions to alleviate the suffering of the people. Regional involvement and League of Arab States (LAS) leadership remains crucial. I have repeatedly reaffirmed the EU’s support to the LAS plan which we all have endorsed again today. The LAS plan to cease violence and begin an inclusive Syrian-led political process must be fully implemented. I want to reiterate my full support for the appointment of Kofi Annan as the UN and LAS Special Envoy for Syria. He has a challenging job but I can not think of someone more qualified for this difficult task. For the success of the political transition in Syria, it is also vital that the SNC and opposition groups agree on a set of shared principles for working towards an inclusive, prosperous and free Syria that respects minority rights. We urged again the opposition to strengthen its coordination.


Michael Mann +32 498 999 780 - +32 2 299 97 80 - Michael.Mann@eeas.europa.eu Maja Kocijancic +32 498 984 425 - +32 2 298 65 70 - Maja.Kocijancic@ec.europa.eu Sebastien Brabant +32 498 986 433 - Sebastien.Brabant@ec.europa.eu



The humanitarian situation and lack of access for food and medical supplies is our most urgent and immediate concern. The army and military forces must withdraw from all besieged towns and cities and humanitarian agencies and the LAS must be allowed unhindered access. I welcome the UN efforts to coordinate the humanitarian response. The European Commission is playing a key role, has already committed emergency relief and will continue to fully cooperate with the UN and the AL. As far as sanctions are concerned, I have announced today that we will be expanding our restrictive measures on Monday and have asked my colleagues to join efforts. I also want to stress my appreciation to Tunisia for hosting this conference. The new free and democratic Tunisia is already contributing to the work of the international community in a decisive way and I pay tribute to their efforts." ____________________



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