Middle East

France slams Syria multi-party proposal as “provocation”

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Paris: France Thursday slammed as “provocation” a decree by Syrian President Bashar Assad allowing opposition parties, and said instead he should stop his deadly crackdown on democracy protests.

“In a manner that lacks credibility ... the Syrian regime recently announced the authorization of multi-party politics. This is almost a provocation,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French radio.

He said that “what we want is an end to the violence against the civilian population which is only defending its rights.”

Juppe warned that “if nothing changes in Syria,” France may seek further action from the U.N. Security Council, which Wednesday condemned the deadly crackdown and said those responsible should be held accountable.

Assad Thursday issued a decree authorizing political parties to be established and to function alongside the Baath party, in power since 1963 with the constitutional status of “the leader of state and society.”

Political pluralism has been at the forefront of demands by pro-reform dissidents who since March 15 have been taking to the streets across Syria almost daily to call for greater freedoms.

 

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