Turkey: Syria spurned last chance to stop repression

Turkey: Syria spurned last chance to stop repression

Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri (R) and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. (Photo: AA).

November 15, 2011, Tuesday/ 16:30:00

Syria's leadership was offered a last chance to stop its violent repression of anti-government protests but rejected it, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Tuesday.    

"The Syrian regime does not want to listen to the demands of its people," Davutoğlu told a news conference in the Moroccan capital. "Unfortunately, it still shoots its own people."     

"We have given a last opportunity to the Syrian regime but they didn't want to seize it," Davutoğlu said. "We cannot afford to sit idle."     

Turkey wants "sanctions with an impact that spares harm to the Syrian people," he said through an interpreter.     

After long courting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey has lost patience with its neighbor and joined international efforts to put pressure on the Assad administration.      

Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said "Syrian colleagues" would be welcome to attend a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Rabat on Wednesday, but he did not specify if that meant Syria's foreign minister could take part.     

The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria's membership after it failed to end an eight-month crackdown on protesters and implement promised democratic reforms.     

"Tomorrow we will listen to the (Arab League) Secretary-General on how far the Syrian authorities have complied with the League's resolution," the Moroccan minister said.

A Moroccan foreign ministry spokesman later said that when the minister said Syrian colleagues were welcome, he was referring not to the Arab League meeting but to bilateral ties, as Rabat still has diplomatic relations with Damascus.          

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