Iran Focus: Washington, Aug. 18 – The United States and its allies on Thursday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, as the Obama administration imposed new sanctions on Syria’s government.
Washington, Aug. 18 – The United States and its allies on Thursday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, as the Obama administration imposed new sanctions on Syria’s government.
“For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime’s contempt for its own people”, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown”.
“In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children”, she said.
Under the new set of sanctions against Syria, U.S. entities are barred from engaging in any transactions or dealings with Syrian petroleum products.
“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led”, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement made some five months after Syria’s uprising began. “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside”.
Also on Thursday, Europe’s leaders demanded that al-Assad step down now, decreeing that his regime has lost all legitimacy, and pressing into service new sanctions.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a joint plea to Assad to step down, with European Union partners simultaneously warning of new joint sanctions.
Switzerland meanwhile recalled its ambassador to Damascus — a day after Bern added 12 new names to a list of key players under financial embargo and travel restriction.
The drive comes ahead of a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Syria, which is to take place on Monday.
“Our countries believe President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country”, Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy said.
“We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people”.
Based in part on wire reports