Agencies- President Barack Obama reached out to the leaders of Britain and Saudi Arabia on Saturday to build consensus for an end to the violent crackdown by Syria's government.
US President Barack Obama joined his British and Saudi counterparts Saturday in demanding that the Syrian regime "immediately" halt its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
During a telephone conversation, Obama and Saudi King Abdullah expressed their "shared, deep concerns about the Syrian government's use of violence against its citizens," the White House said in a statement.
"They agreed that the Syrian regime's brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people must end immediately."
In a separate phone call, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron also agreed on the need for an “immediate” end to the bloodshed.
They reiterated “their deep concern about the Syrian government’s use of violence against civilians and their belief that the Syrian people’s legitimate demands for a transition to democracy should be met,” the White House said.
A spokesman for Downing Street said the two leaders “expressed horror at the brutal reaction of the Syrian regime to legitimate protests, particularly during Ramadan,” the holy month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.
Canada too said Saturday it had expanded sanctions on Syria, including blacklisting a commercial bank and a mobile phone provider, to protest the government’s brutal crackdown on protests, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Saturday.
Baird said all bilateral cooperation agreements and initiatives with Syria have been halted. He added “In the past weeks, Syrians have erupted in protest against the Assad regime, which has used deadly force in its attempts to put down the crowds.”
More than 2,000 have been killed for far in the crackdown, the minister said.
France also has advised its citizens in Syria Saturday to leave the country as security forces continue to clamp down on pro-democracy protests.
“We advise French citizens who are still in Syria to leave the country by commercial transport,” the foreign ministry said in the travel advice section of its website.
“Considering the escalation of tensions in Syria, it is strongly advised to abandon any plans to visit the country,” it added.
In turn, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Saturday urged “the Syrian leadership to exercise utmost restraint through immediate cessation of the use of force to suppress people’s demonstrations,” said the world’s largest pan-Islamic body.
Ihsanoglu “expressed the readiness of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to play a role in this regard, as he believes that dialogue is the only secure option through which this devastating crisis could be contained.”
The UN Security Council is due to hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss human rights and the humanitarian emergency in Syria.