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Thursday 31st May 2012 | 18:36
A No 10 spokesperson said:
"The Prime Minister convened a meeting of the National Security Council today to discuss the situation in Syria following the sickening massacre at Houla and the escalation in violence in recent days. The Prime Minister wants to be sure that we are doing all we can to bring an end to the violence in Syria and to support the process of transition.
"The National Security Council considered the range of diplomatic efforts being pursued by the Government and agreed that we need to keep working with our international partners to make clear to the Assad regime that they must comply with the Annan plan, to stop killing and maiming their own citizens and that those responsible for the brutal violence will be held accountable for their actions. They agreed that we should step up these efforts, including considering further sanctions. It is in the interest of everyone to put in place an orderly democratic transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people.
"The National Security Council considered all the options on the table. Our goal is a peaceful political transition and our focus remains on the Annan plan but the Assad regime should not make the mistake of believing that we will abandon the Syria people.
"Today's meeting of the National Security Council comes after increased efforts by the Government to find a solution to the crisis. On Monday, the Prime Minister spoke to President Hollande and the UN Secretary General, the Foreign Secretary visited Moscow for talks with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Syrian charge d'affaires was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office so we could make clear our condemnation of the violence of the regime. On Tuesday, the Government expelled three Syrian diplomats in the UK. Yesterday, our Ambassador to the United Nations made clear to the UN Security Council in New York that we need to do more to accelerate the political process, to ensure accountability for the massacre at Houla and to consider what more we can do to support the UN Observer Mission in Syria. Today the Foreign Secretary is in Istanbul talking to more international partners and the Syrian opposition about what we can do. Tomorrow, the Foreign Secretary will continue with talks in Turkey and, at our request, the UN Human Right Council will hold an emergency session in Geneva to discuss the situation in Syria. We will keep up these efforts in the weeks ahead to help increase the international pressure on the regime to bring this oppression to an end."