Syria needs transitional government fast: France

2012-07-21 19:12
AP

AP

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Paris - Syria needs a transitional government soon which would represent the diversity of its society, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement issued Saturday.

"Time has come for the opposition to get going and take over the reins of the country," said Fabius.

He said he could organise a meeting of ministers in Paris "to consolidate efforts by Arab countries to build tomorrow's Syria".

"Whatever its manoeuvres the regime of Bashar al-Assad is being condemned by its own courageous people. Time has come to prepare the transition and the day after," he said.

Fabius said he was in contact with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani and others to find a solution to the 16-month crisis in Syria.

"Along with the European Union we are also trying to provide help and necessary support to the increasing number of refugees, in cooperation with neighbouring countries," he added.

Fabius is to discuss the crisis with his EU colleagues in Brussels on Monday.

Speaking in Madrid Friday, Fabius confirmed that the European Union would slap new sanctions against Syria next week, including a tighter arms embargo.

Diplomats said Thursday that the European Union was planning to freeze the assets of 26 Syrians close to Assad while readying plans to board vessels and planes suspected of transporting arms for his regime.

The diplomats told AFP that foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc were also likely to agree at the Monday talks to add at least 26 individuals and two or three firms to an existing EU blacklist of 129 people and 49 entities.

The sanctions would be the European Union's 17th round of targeted measures against the Assad regime since protests erupted in March 2011.

An export ban was imposed in May last year on arms and material which might be used for internal repression. But there is growing concern to ensure that no weapons or goods get through.

As fighting intensifies in Syria, also high on the agenda of the foreign ministers talks will be how to prepare for a potential humanitarian crisis on Europe's doorstep.

More than 100 000 Syrians displaced by the conflict have been registered so far in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, triple the number since April.

More than 17 000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad began 16 months ago, activists say.

Read more on:    eu  |  syria conflict
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