Turkey offers to host follow-up meeting on Syria

LONDON Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:09pm EST

LONDON Feb 23 (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to host an international meeting on Syria to follow up one being held in Tunis on Friday to raise pressure on Damascus to end a violent crackdown, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on Somalia in London, he said at the talks in Tunis, "the international community will say with a loud voice that this oppression has to stop..."

"Our aim is for the international community to raise its voice against the violence in Syria which is now not only directed against the innocent people but the Syrians have turned their guns against journalists."

He said there was general agreement that a follow-up meeting should be held in Istanbul but that this would be decided for sure in Tunis. He gave no date.

Western and Arab countries meeting in Tunis are expected to demand that Syrian forces implement an immediate ceasefire to allow relief supplies to reach desperate civilians in bombarded cities such as Homs. (Reporting by Jon Hemming; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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