Rudd weighs in on Syrian unrest
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Rudd weighs in on Syrian unrest

COMMUNAL leaders have welcomed the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement that he was imposing fresh sanctions on Syria in the wake of the escalation of violence perpetrated by the regime in recent days and the failure of the UN to pass a resolution censuring President Assad.

COMMUNAL leaders have welcomed the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement that he was imposing fresh sanctions on Syria in the wake of the escalation of violence perpetrated by the regime in recent days and the failure of the UN to pass a resolution censuring President Assad.

In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Kevin Rudd said: “For over a year now, we have seen violence and human-rights abuses take place in Syria. Well over 5000 people have died.

“The regime is targeting innocent civilians, including by directing heavy weaponry, tanks, and snipers against civilians and in major population centres such as Homs, Idlib, Hama and Deraa.

“These abuses are getting worse, as Syrian people are being subjected to unjust detention, sexual violence and torture.”

Condemning the Russian and Chinese veto on a proposed UN Security Council resolution, Rudd added: “What we saw in New York was a failure of key members of the international community to live up to their responsibilities to help the Syrian people. This failure was an abdication of responsibility.”

Stating that Australia had already been implementing measures against Assad’s regime over the past year, Rudd added, “Australia will impose further autonomous financial sanctions and travel bans on 75 Syrian individuals and 27 entities not already listed by Australia. These measures are designed to hold those who have engaged in human-rights abuses – including the use of violence against civilians – accountable for their actions.”

Calling for Assad to stand down, he also pledged Australia’s support for international measures “to support peaceful transition in Syria and the earliest end to the bloodshed”.

Welcoming Rudd’s statement, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “While no one knows what could follow the fall of the Assad regime, given what has happened elsewhere across the Arab world, it is clear that the crimes of the Syrian regime cruelly perpetrated against its own people cannot be allowed to stand.

“Unfortunately, Assad will not go quietly, nor necessarily soon, even though that would be the preferred outcome for all the regional actors threatened by the Iranian/Syrian resistance bloc – and that includes not only Israel, but most of the Sunni Arab Middle East nations and Turkey.”

ZEDDY LAWRENCE

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

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