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France follows Spain, Italy, Britain and Belgium in recalling Syrian ambassador

AFP PHOTO/HO/YOUTUBE

France has followed Spain, Britain, Belgium and Italy in withdrawing its ambassador from Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, amid the regime's ongoing bloody crackdown on a revolt against Bashar al-Assad's rule. 

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"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. He added the ambassador would be back in Paris “within the next few days”.

The United States closed its embassy in Damascus on Monday and recalled the ambassador Robert Ford. The Gulf Cooperation Council  - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman - is also recalling its ambassador.

But the European Union says it has no plans to withdraw its head of delegation from Syria stressing that the EU needs a presence there to "report and observe".

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, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is visiting Syria, says he has held "very useful" meetings with Syria's leadership and President Bashar al-Assad assured him he was "fully committed" to a cessation of violence.

Valero 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.

 

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