Vienna, 9 December 2011 Press release

Spindelegger: „Consensus and commitment to democracy are keys to success for the Syrian opposition“

Vice Chancellor met with the President of the Syrian National Council, the largest alliance of Syrian opposition groups

Vienna, 9 December 2011 – „Democracy and the rule of law must be the pillars of a new Syria.All Syrian opposition groups must come to an agreement on this objective“, said Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger after his meeting with Prof. Burhan Ghalioun, the President of the largest Syrian opposition alliance, the „Syrian National Council“.„A regime that cracks down against its own people with inhumane violence has lost all its legitimacy.With his recent statements, President Assad has proven again that he is either a ruthless cynic or that he lives in a grotesque world of illusion.He must step down immediately, to finally allow for a peaceful transition to a new leadership“.

Prof. Ghalioun and other members of the Executive Committee of the Syrian National Council informed the Austrian Foreign Minister on their view of the developments in Syria, and above all on their ideas for a change of government in the country.„I admire the determination of the Syrians who continue to rally for a free and democratic Syria despite the massive use of violence by the regime.I expect that all opposition forces will found a new Syria based on the respect of universal fundamental rights, the rule of law, and the protection of religious and ethnic minorities.It is absolutely necessary to avoid the risk of a civil war and inter-religious confrontations“, emphasized Spindelegger.

The Vice Chancellor underscored Austria’s engagement for the condemnation of Syria in the Human Rights Committee of the UN General Assembly and in the Human Rights Council in Geneva.„As a member of the Human Rights Council, we have actively contributed to the revelation and international condemnation of the regime’s atrocities.There can be no immunity in this case.Assad will have to answer for his actions.“

Spindelegger pointed out to the sanctions imposed by the European Union against those responsible for the repressive measures, which were further tightened during the latest Council of the EU Foreign Ministers:„The EU is not alone in this.We support the efforts of the Arab League in convincing the Assad regime to back down.I also expect a clear reaction from the entire international community on this.The UN Security Council is urgently called upon to live up to its responsibility“, affirmed the Vice Chancellor in closing his statement.

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