Syria must rapidly enact reforms: France

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France on Friday called for the "rapid and effective implementation" of reforms promised by Syria, including the lifting of the state of emergency in place for nearly five decades.

"France has taken note of the reforms announced yesterday by Syrian authorities," said foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.

"We call for the rapid and effective implementation of these measures, including the lifting of the state of emergency and the release of prisoners detained for having participated in protests," he said at a briefing.

On Thursday the regime of President Bashar al-Assad announced the release of all activists locked up since anti-government demonstrations began a month ago, and said it might scrap the 1963 emergency law.

A day earlier, up to 100 people died during protests in the southern city of Daraa, according to opposition leaders and rights activists.

"France condemns in the strongest terms the violence that led on March 23 to the deaths of more than 50 people and many injuries," Valero said.

Activists in Syria vowed on Friday to push on with rallies against "injustice and repression" after weekly Muslim prayers, dismissing the reform pledges announced by authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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