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Syria in the eye of the storm – Italian Ambassador to Damascus recalled for consultations

The West is stepping up the diplomatic pressure on Damascus, after the Russian and Chinese veto on the UN Resolution against the repression in Syria. A veto that Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi defined as “extremely disagreeable, to use an euphemism: it shouldn’t have occurred because it is based on considerations of fact and of law that are utterly mistaken”. Terzi has recalled the Italian Ambassador to Damascus, Achille Amerio, to Rome for consultations.

The Italian Embassy in the Syrian capital remains open and operational. It will continue to provide assistance for Italian nationals in the country and closely monitor developments in the grave crisis affecting the country. According to UNICEF, over 400 children were killed between the outbreak of the violence in March 2011 and the end of January this year.

Minister Terzi’s decision to recall Ambassador Amerio follows the most recent steps taken by the Italian Government. The Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General, Giampiero Massolo, has expressed to the Syrian Ambassador in Rome, Khaddour Hasan, the Government’s firm condemnation and indignation over the Damascus regime’s unacceptable violence against the civilian population.

The United Kingdom, France and Spain have also recalled their Ambassadors. In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has flown to Damascus to meet the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, and deliver a message from the Kremlin.

The United States have closed their Embassy in Damascus and given the order to evacuate their diplomatic personnel. They have invited all US citizens to leave the country, in light of the escalating violence.

According to a spokesperson of the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, the European Union will not withdraw its diplomatic delegations from Syria. It intends to go on working to intensify the international pressure and force President Assad to resign and allow a peaceful transition to take place. The EU is ready to step up its sanctions against the regime in Damascus, added the spokesperson.

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