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SYRIA: Italian Embassy activities in Damascus suspended

Italy today suspended the activities of its Embassy in Damascus and recalled its diplomatic mission staff.

The decision was taken “not least in consideration of series security concerns, in unison with our European Union partners, and to reiterate the firmest condemnation of the unacceptable violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime against its citizens”.Italy will continue to support the Syrian people and to work toward a peaceful solution to the crisis that ensures their fundamental rights and legitimate democratic aspirations. We fully back UN and Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts, who recently met with President Assad in Damascus, to whom he submitted a package of proposals: the immediate cessation of the violence and access to humanitarian relief organisations and the launch of political dialogue.

As Minister Terzi has repeatedly stated, Italy’s priority is to aid the “suffering” population, bring relief to devastated cities such as Homs and stop this “tactic of gradually crushing each individual rebel holdout against the power of Assad”. Italian diplomacy is also working within the UN on the adoption of a “humanitarian truce to allow access to relief convoys”. Similar initiatives included Terzi’s appeal to the EU foreign ministers council in Brussels, which approved a new package of sanctions against the Assad regime, and in Copenhagen, where an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers was held last week.