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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Carr discuss Syria

April 11, 2012

With H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at UN Headquarters in New York

Yesterday, 10 April, I met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss Syria.

I emphasised Australia’s commitment to alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people amidst the ongoing violence. Australia is providing a further $5 million to meet humanitarian needs in Syria and neighbouring countries. This includes $3 million for food assistance through the World Food Program and $2 million for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The continuing reports of violence in Syria are deeply disturbing. Australia will implement further sanctions against the Syrian regime, in line with our international partners, if President Assad refuses to change course. Australia already imposes sanctions against members of the Syrian regime involved in violence and repression. Through our autonomous sanctions regime, Australia currently imposes travel and financial restrictions against 106 individuals and 28 entities. But we stand ready to do more.

Australia also backs efforts to collect evidence about serious crimes occurring in Syria, so that those responsible for such crimes can be held accountable.

I told the Secretary-General that the Australian Government strongly supports the work of the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and Arab League, Mr Kofi Annan, and the call by the UN Security Council for the urgent, comprehensive and immediate implementation of Mr Annan’s proposals to end the crisis.

The international leadership demonstrated by the Secretary-General in responding to the situation in Syria is to be commended. The work of regional players, including the Arab League and Turkey, has also been vital.

It is now imperative the Syrian Government implement its commitments to Mr Annan so that a ceasefire can be established, overseen by an effective monitoring mechanism.

I will have opportunities for further discussions on Syria in New York later this week, including with Ambassadors from the region.

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