Summary: 26 March 2011, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made the following statement today on the situation in Syria:
"I am appalled and extremely concerned by the situation in Syria. Despite the latest announcement of improved political freedoms and restraint, violent repression of demonstrators has continued in several cities. I strongly condemn the brutal repression, including the totally unacceptable use of violence and live ammunition, which must cease now.
I urge the authorities to exercise the utmost restraint across the country and to meet the legitimate demands and aspirations of the people with dialogue and urgent political and socio-economic reforms. The state of emergency must be lifted and political prisoners and human rights defenders must be released without delay. Human rights and fundamental freedoms must be respected and protected by the authorities and security forces."