Deeds, not words, important in Syria, says German foreign minister
Germany will judge Syria's announced repeal of its emergency law when the move is actually made, said German Foreign Minister Guido Weseterwelle Saturday, responding to an announcement by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier that day, dpa reported.
Al-Assad announced Saturday that the emergency law, in place since 1963, could be removed next week once appropriate legislation is prepared.
The emergency law gives the government sweeping powers to stifle the opposition and ban demonstrations, through a broad interpretation of what constitutes a threat to "security" or "weakens national sentiment."
"What's important are deeds, not announcements," said Westerwelle. "That is the only standard by which we will judge the Syrian government."
Westerwelle said that repealing the emergency law could only be a first step. Syria also needs to enact political reform and personal freedoms, he said. He also decried efforts to suppress protests, which have been ongoing for more than a month.