Switzerland recalls ambassador to Syria

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Switzerland has decided to recall its ambassador to Damascus for consultations in protest at Syria's crackdown on protestors, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"The unacceptable behaviour of the Syrian security service has led the foreign ministry to recall the ambassador from his post in Damascus for consultations in Bern," the ministry said in a statement.

The foreign ministry said that it had already "made a number of public appeals to the Syrian authorities to respect fundamental rights", adding that it "particularly deplores the large numbers of dead and wounded and offers its sincerest condolences to the victims' families and loved ones".

The statement also called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to end repression immediately, halt the use of torture as well as respect freedom of opinion and for people to hold gatherings.

The announcement of the ambassador's recall comes only a day after Switzerland widened sanctions against Assad's regime, adding 12 individuals to a list of key players under financial embargo and travel restriction.

Bern had already blocked assets worth 27 million francs ($34 million, 23.6 million euros) belonging to Assad and 22 other individuals.

© 2011 AFP

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