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Australian WikiLeaks Party meets Syrian President in Sydney

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) speaks to Tim Anderson, a senior lecturer in political economy at Sydney University, during a meeting with an Australian delegation in Damascus on Dec 23, 2013.

A delegation from Australia’s WikiLeaks Party has traveled to Syria and met with a number of Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad.

The delegation that included John Shipton, the father of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, met with President Assad on December 23, reports said on Tuesday.

The WikiLeaks Party website said the meeting was aimed at showing solidarity with people in Syria and opposing western military intervention in the country.

The party questioned “the credibility of the excuses of such intervention based on unsubstantiated reports of the Syrian Army’s use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians,” it said in a post on its website.

“The same excuses” that become “no more than fabrications and lies” used to justify the US invasion of Iraq, the party added.

According to reports, Shipton announced plans to set up a WikiLeaks Party office in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in solidarity with the Syrians.

The delegation also included WikiLeaks national council member Gail Malone, Sydney university academic Tim Anderson and refugee activist Jamal Daoud.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop condemned on Wednesday the meeting as “reckless,” saying the move risked involving Australia in the Syria crisis.

“It’s an extraordinarily reckless thing for an organization registered as a political party in Australia to try and insert itself in the appalling conflict in Syria for their own political ends,” Bishop said.


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