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Obama to toughen stance on Syria with call for Assad’s departure

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Ian Black,
London Guardian
Aug 11, 2011

The United States is poised to shift its position on Syria by calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down because of the violence he has inflicted on his own people and his failure to implement meaningful reforms for the last five months.

Barack Obama could issue the demand as early as Thursday in a speech that will mark a dramatic departure in the Syrian crisis. Until now US policy — echoed by Britain and its EU partners — has been that Assad must lead a transition or get out of the way. Now, for the first time, the US president will tell him bluntly to go.

In previous statements Washington has described Assad as “illegitimate” or “part of the past”. The White House on Wednesday decried Assad’s “heinous actions”, and spokesman Jay Carney said: “We are all watching with horror what he is doing to his own people.”

Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Wednesday that Washington had evidence of “crimes” in Syria and was ready to use it to step up pressure on Assad.

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This article was posted: Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4:11 am

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