German FM summons Syrian envoy


Germany’s foreign ministry said Friday it had summoned the Syrian envoy to Berlin to express concern over ongoing repression by the regime and urge immediate implementation of the UN-backed peace plan.

It said the move, instigated by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, followed the publication of a report by a UN panel, which said that government forces were to blame for most rights abuses in the unrest sweeping Syria.

Berlin’s coordinator for Middle East policy, Boris Ruge, outlined “the concern of the government about the continuous repression by the Syrian regime” to the Syrian ambassador, a ministry statement said.

“The peace plan by Kofi Annan must be immediately and completely implemented,” it said.

The government also called for the immediate release of human rights activist and journalist Mazen Darwish and several co-workers from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

Darwish was arrested by Syrian security forces in February.

On Thursday, the UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Syria set up by the UN Human Rights Council, said the army and security forces were behind the majority of serious abuses committed since March this year as they hunt down defectors and opponents.

The German foreign ministry in December held talks with Syria’s ambassador to Berlin over accusations that the regime’s secret services had attacked an opposition member in Germany.