| European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks at a press conference in Cyprus, on Sept. 8, 2012. EU foreign ministers, who met in a two-day informal meeting in Cyprus, demanded the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. (Xinhua/Public Information Office of Cyprus)
NICOSIA, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) foreign ministers, who met in a two-day informal meeting in Cyprus, demanded the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.
"The message out of the discussions at the informal meeting of the European Foreign Ministers in connection with the crisis in Syria is that President Assad must go," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told a joint press conference here along with Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli.
Ashton said the EU will offer its support to the UN new envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in his efforts to find a peaceful solution.
"He must reach a political solution so as to end the violence in Syria," Ashton said, adding she will meet Brahimi in New York soon to discuss measures to end the crisis.
She said more sanctions may be imposed on the Syrian regime to force its resignation.
Ashton said the EU will cooperate with forces opposing al-Assad so as to help the Syrian people "take their fortunes into their own hands."
Ashton and Markoulli said the EU is gravely worried about the humanitarian crisis resulting from the fighting and announced that it will offer new help worth 50 million euros (about 63 million U.S. dollars) for the relief of displaced people.
"We are greatly concerned about people who sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and efforts are under way to help Syria's neighbors," Ashton said.
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, who discussed the Syrian crisis with the King of Jordan during a recent visit in Amman, has said that he has already made arrangements to help the country meet an acute water shortage in refugee camps.
Ashton said several foreign ministers raised the issue of the Iranian nuclear program at the meeting and suggested that more sanctions should be imposed on Tehran.
"We appeal to Iran to enter into discussions with us on its nuclear program. We want to make sure that its nuclear program is of a peaceful nature," Ashton said.