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Published on July 11, 2011
Statement by the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry Spokesman

Paris, July 10, 2011

The Syrian ambassador has been summoned to the Quai d’Orsay this evening by the Principal Private Secretary of the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, with two objectives:

- firstly, to vigorously protest against the demonstrations that took place yesterday outside our embassy in Damascus and our consulate in Aleppo which were marked by acts that insulted the symbols of the French Republic: French flags were burned and a great deal of damage caused (projectiles thrown into the compound, vehicles destroyed) while the Syrian police and security forces did not make the slightest effort to prevent these unspeakable acts which were in complete violation of the obligations of the Syrian Arab Republic under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

We hold the Syrian authorities responsible for the safety of our staff and diplomatic missions.

- secondly, we were astonished to learn that the Syrian Foreign Ministry had summoned the French ambassador in Damascus to express to him its objections to the fact that he had travelled to Hama without prior authorization.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that the heads of diplomatic missions shall have complete freedom of movement in their countries of accreditation. It is within this framework that our ambassador travels across Syria as, moreover, the Syrian ambassador does in France. It’s pointless accusing the French ambassador of having ulterior motives; he is fully exercising his functions.

The summoning of the Syrian ambassador provides an opportunity to reiterate in the most solemn way possible that what has taken place in Syria in recent months is unacceptable:

- it’s not acceptable for a government to unleash weapons against its population;

- it’s not acceptable for a government to ignore the appeals of its people for reforms.

- it’s not acceptable for the international community not to mobilize its efforts to ensure that these appeals are heard, to protect the civilian population, as well as for the sake of peace and security in the region./.

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