UN slams al-Assad, US wants him to go
ISTANBUL / UNITED NATIONS
‘The time has come for the international community to unite around a plan for post-Assad Syria,’ Clinton says. AA photoU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday urged Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power and leave his country, condemning a “unconscionable” massacre near the town of Hama, while the U.N. chief said al-Assad had “lost all legitimacy.”
“Assad has doubled down on his brutality and duplicity. Syria will not and cannot be stable, peaceful and democratic until al-Assad goes. The time has come for the international community to unite around a plan for post-Assad Syria,” Clinton said, speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu after the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum held in Istanbul on June 7.
Clinton’s remarks came just hours before U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said U.N. monitors trying to get to the scene of a new massacre in Syria had been shot at, calling the latest atrocity “shocking and sickening.” Ban, speaking at the start of a special U.N. General Assembly session on the Syrian crisis, condemned the reported massacre as “an unspeakable barbarity” and called again on al-Assad to immediately implement international mediator Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.
Ban said any regime that tolerates killings such as last month’s massacre of more than 100 civilians in Houla and the latest attack in Hama “has lost its fundamental humanity,” and condemned “this unspeakable barbarity.”
Meanwhile, Annan called for a “new level” of international action to halt the violence, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly. Annan called on al-Assad to face the “consequences” for the worsening conflict.
“We must find the will and the common ground to act -- and act as one,” Annan said. “Individual actions or interventions will not resolve the crisis. As we demand compliance with international law and the six-point plan, it must be made clear that there will be consequences if compliance is not forthcoming.” Without a dramatic change, “the future is likely to be one of brutal repression, massacres, sectarian violence and even all-out civil war,” Annan said.
‘Horror and condemnation’
Annan expressed his “horror and condemnation at the fact that a new massacre of dozens of civilians, including children and women,” had taken place. “Those responsible for perpetrating these crimes must be held to account,” Annan told the 193-nation body.
Clinton said the United States is willing to work with all members of the U.N. Security Council, which includes Russia, on a conference on Syria’s political future, but that conference would have to start with the premise that al-Assad and his government will give way to a democratic government, she added. She is expected to meet with Annan in Washington today. For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said he still hopes diplomacy can be used to solve the Syrian question, adding that all alternatives, including ways to protect civilians as well as Turkey’s borders, could be considered if diplomatic efforts fail.