Cut ties with Syria, urges Tunisia PM - Emirates24|7

Cut ties with Syria, urges Tunisia PM

Police and protesters clash during a demonstration outside the Syrian embassy in Tunis on Saturday. Staff at the Syrian embassy in Tunisia's capital lowered the national flag over the building on Saturday, hours after the Tunisian president said he was expelling the ambassador and preparing to sever relations with Damascus. (Reuters)

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali called on Sunday on all countries to cut off diplomatic relations with Syria over the violence there.
"We have to expel Syrian ambassadors from Arab and other countries," Jebali said during a panel discussion on the Middle East at a security conference in the southern German city of Munich.

"The Syrian people do not expect from us today long statements ... they are expecting deeds, they are expecting concrete measures ... the very least we can do is to cut all relations to the Syria regime," added Jebali.

He said Russia and China's veto on Saturday against a UN resolution aimed at stopping the violence showed that the Security Council system was broken.

The veto was "a right that was misused and undoubtedly the international community has to reconsider this mechanism of decision taking," said Jebali.

Tunisia, announced on Saturday it would expel the Syrian ambassador and stop recognising the Damascus regime.

Speaking at the same event, Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman also called on the international community to expel Syrian ambassadors from their countries and recall diplomats in the wake of the violence there.

"I urge you in the name of the peaceful rebels to expel Syrian ambassadors from your countries and I urge you to call back your ambassadors in Damascus," Karman said.

China and Russia, which vetoed a UN resolution aimed at ending the bloodshed in Syria, "bear the moral and human responsibility for these massacres," she said.

Referring to the veto, Qatari minister of state for foreign affairs, Khalid Mohamed Al Attiyah, described Saturday as a "sad day".

He said Russia and China's move was a "bad signal to Assad that gives a licence to kill, full stop."

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu decried the two countries' stance.

"Unfortunately yesterday, Cold War logic continued ... Russia and China did not vote on existing realities.

"Which type of message are we giving to the Syrian people and regime?" he asked.

"The ethical responsibility of the international community is to raise its voice, to send a strong message to the Assad regime," he said.

US independent Senator Joe Lieberman said that with their actions, China and Russia were "on the wrong side of history" and they could find themselves as isolated as Assad if they refused to budge.
 

Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Council on Sunday slammed the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria as giving the regime of President Bashar Al Assad a "licence to kill."

The SNC said in a statement "Syrians and others around the world" had looked to the Security Council to issue a strongly worded resolution, "one that would clearly condemn the Syrian regime's crimes; the atrocity and impunity with which it kills civilians, including women and children; and the genocide it commits in exterminating entire families.

"However, the world was shocked when the Russian and Chinese governments vetoed the draft Arab-European resolution," the statement said.

"The SNC holds both governments accountable for the escalation of killings and genocide, and considers this irresponsible step a licence for the Syrian regime to kill without being held accountable."

The umbrella opposition movement called on Moscow and Beijing "to immediately reassess their positions and to not block the will of the Syrian people, who clearly desire the attainment of their rights and freedoms."
 

It said the SNC will now approach the UN General Assembly "to adopt an international resolution that supports the rights of our people."
 

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