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Australia imposes new sanctions on Syrian leaders

Australia imposes new sanctions on Syrian leaders

Australia imposed new travel bans and financial sanctions on Syrian leaders on Tuesday as it steps up actions to force an end to violence against Syria's civilian population.

February 7, 2012 3:14 by

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said more than 5,000 people had been killed in a year of violence in Syria and President Bashar al-Assad had shown complete disregard for the rights and welfare of the Syrian people.

“Assad should step down. This violence by the Assad regime should end,” Rudd told the Australian parliament.

Rudd said Australia would extend travel bans and financial sanctions to cover an extra 75 people and 27 entities in Syria, and would work with other countries on possible further sanctions. Australia previously had travel bans on 34 people and 13 entities.

Since late last week, Syrian forces have bombarded the city of Homs, killing about 250 people in a sustained assault on strongholds of the armed opposition, activists and the opposition say.

Western nations were scrambling for a new diplomatic strategy for Syria after Russia and China vetoed a U.N Security Council resolution which backed an Arab League call for Assad to stand down.

Rudd said Australia was profoundly disappointed by the failure of the Security Council resolution, saying it was failure of the international community to help the Syrian people.

“This failure was an abdication of responsibility. There was no good reason to explain why this resolution was not passed,” he said.

“China and Russia now must explain to the people of Syria and to the international community their alternative plans for ending violence in Syria.” (Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Robert Birsel) *image of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd placed above is from

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