Australia is ramping up sanctions against the Syrian regime

Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia.

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Australia is ramping up sanctions against the Syrian regime, imposing an arms embargo and tougher restrictions on government figures.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says the Australian government strongly condemns the recent actions of the Syrian regime in violently suppressing protests.

He said intimidation and human rights abuses were deplorable.

Mr Rudd called on Syrian authorities to immediately end all violence against civilians and withdraw the military from the streets of Dera’a, Homs and other cities.

“The government is ramping up targeted financial sanctions against key regime figures responsible for human rights abuses and lethal suppression of peaceful protests in Syria,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The government also will impose an embargo on arms and other equipment used for internal repression.

“This builds on Australia’s financial sanctions against key regime members initiated in April,” he said.

Mr Rudd said he spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Thursday, calling for the appointment of a special representative on Syria to investigate and report on developments.

Australia also has co-sponsored a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on April 29 condemning the use of lethal force against protesters.

Mr Rudd welcomed Syria’s withdrawal as a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council.

“Syria’s membership of the council would have been an affront to the people of Syria and the international community,” he said.

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