Egypt parliament urges government to condemn Syria

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CAIRO: Egypt’s parliament agreed on Tuesday to freeze ties with the Syrian assembly and urged the government to denounce Damascus’s brutal crackdown on dissent, adding to a chorus of international condemnation.

The People’s Assembly agreed to "freeze relations with the Syrian parliament over the escalating violence," the official MENA news agency reported.

The head of the parliamentary Arab affairs committee, Mohammed Al-Sayed Idris, had requested the action as Arab and Western governments announced the withdrawal of their ambassadors from Damascus.

The statement called on the Egyptian government "to take a clear stance regarding the Syrian revolution, which conforms with all that the Egyptian revolution stands for, to support the Syrian people and condemn the crimes of the Syrian regime."

On Tuesday, Gulf monarchies joined the mounting international pressure on Syria, deciding to expel its envoys and withdraw their own over the "mass slaughter" of civilians.

The Gulf states’ announcement came after France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain said on Tuesday that they were following Britain and Belgium in bringing back their envoys for consultations. The United States has closed its Damascus embassy entirely.

The Arab League deployed an observer mission to Syria in December to oversee a plan to end bloodshed that has now lasted almost 11 months but suspended it in late January after the mission’s chief said that the violence had reached a new pitch of intensity.

President Bashar Al-Assad’s crackdown on dissent has cost at least 6,000 lives since March, according to opposition activists.

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