29 May 2012

Australia expels Syrian diplomats

11:17 pm on 29 May 2012

The Australian government has expelled two Syrian diplomats in response to the massacre of more than 100 civilians, including dozens of children, in the village of Houla on Friday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr says and the move will send a strong message to the Syrian regime that violence against civilians is unacceptable, the ABC reports.

The government said on Tuesday the diplomats, including Syrian Charge d'Affairs Jawdat Ali, will have 72 hours to leave the country. It says Australians are appalled by the massacre.

There has been no response yet from Syria and no sign of movement at the embassy in Canberra on Tuesday.

Senator Carr says the Syrian government can expect no further official engagement with Australia until it abides by the UN ceasefire and takes active steps to implement the six-point peace plan agreed with special envoy Kofi Annan.

The Syrian embassy in Australia also provides services to New Zealand.

Senator Carr said he expects other countries will follow Australia's actions.