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Syria: PACE welcomes the emergence of a common position within the international community

Strasbourg, 26.04.2012 – Following an urgent debate on the situation in Syria, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) firmly condemned the gross human rights violations committed by Syrian military and security forces. It also expressed regret at the continuing violations of the ceasefire implemented under Kofi Annan's peace plan and the increasing number of deaths. PACE equally condemned the human rights violations committed by some armed groups combating the regime.

At the same time the Assembly expressed satisfaction that a “common position is gradually emerging” within the international community with the unanimous adoption of two United Nations resolutions on 14 and 21 April 2012, authorising the deployment of unarmed UN military observers to Syria to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence. PACE underlined that, for more than a year, the international community, which has a heavy responsibility, had failed to agree on action regarding Syria - with two draft UN resolutions having been vetoed by Russia and China in October 2011 and March 2012.

The parliamentarians also stressed that the implementation of Kofi Annan's peace plan and the total cessation of violence should ultimately guarantee democratic change in Syria, gradually creating conditions allowing for a "Syrian-led political process" and eventually for free and fair elections.

Moreover, in line with the conclusions of the rapporteur on this issue, Pietro Marcenaro (Italy, SOC), PACE called on the domestic opposition groups “to unite in order to be considered as a legitimate alternative offering all Syrian citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin, culture or religion, the prospect of a democratic and pluralist Syria.” It underlined that effective respect for human and minority rights is a prerequisite for uniting and strengthening the opposition.