France summons Syrian ambassador: foreign ministry

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France summoned Syria's ambassador in Paris to the foreign ministry Wednesday to repeat its demand that Damascus halt the use of military force against political protests, the ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told AFP that Ambassador Lamia Shakkur was meeting with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's chief of staff.

"We wanted to remind her of our condemnation of the escalating repression, our demand for an end without delay to the use of force against the population and our demand that all political prisoners be freed," he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday condemned as "unacceptable" the situation in Syria, where troops are waging an assault against pro-democracy protests.

Rights activists say at least 400 people have been killed since the crackdown started last month and accuse Syrian security forces of shooting protestors dead.

"You cannot send in tanks and the army to put down protests. This brutality is unacceptable," Sarkozy said in Rome on Tuesday.

France's foreign ministry said Tuesday that France was urging the United Nations and the European Union to take "strong measures" against Syria to halt the violence.

© 2011 AFP

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