Meeting with President of the Syrian National Council

Media Release

17 June 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today met the newly elected President of the Syrian National Council, Abdulbaset Sieda, in Istanbul on June 16 (overnight June 16-17 AEST).

Senator Carr was attending the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative.

"We support efforts to coordinate and organise opposition parties and to provide a voice for the Syrian people in the international domain," Senator Carr said.

"Australia is deeply concerned about the worsening violence in Syria, and by the United Nations decision to suspend a large part of its operations in the country.

"The Assad regime has shown an unwillingness to end the violence. We stand with the international community in calling for President Assad to step down so that peaceful and inclusive political reform can occur.

"Australia has taken a strong position on Syria to date, with an arms embargo and travel and financial sanctions against 106 individuals and 28 entities associated with the Assad regime.

"We have contributed $11 million in humanitarian assistance to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people caught up in the violence.

"And in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly we have co-sponsored or supported six resolutions condemning the violence in Syria.

"Last month, Australia expelled the Syrian Chargé and one other embassy diplomat.

"Recent discussions with Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu included further potential measures to end the violence in Syria, including possible United Nations sanctions and enhancement of the UN supervision mission.

"We support a peaceful political transition in Syria, that will enable its people to determine their own future."

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