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Clinton: Other Nations Should Also Call on Assad to Step Down

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: The United States wants other nations to add their voices to the call for Assad to step down.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/12/2011, 2:12 AM

Assad and Clinton
Assad and Clinton
Israel news photo montage

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the United States wants other nations to add their voices to the call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Clinton made the comments in an interview to the CBS Evening News, when asked why the U.S. has not yet called for Assad to step down.

In excerpts of the interview quoted by the Reuters news agency, Clinton said the United States has been “very clear” in its statements about Assad’s loss of legitimacy.

She added, however, that “it’s important that it's not just the American voice. And we want to make sure those voices are coming from around the world.”

Clinton also said that it was necessary to continue to apply pressure on Assad by slapping sanctions on Syria’s oil and gas industry.

“We want to see Europe take more steps in that direction,” she said. “And we want to see China take steps with us. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind where the United States stands.”

Her comments come after the U.S. added sanctions against Syria on Wednesday.

Sanctions were announced Syriatel, a mobile phone firm, as well as two banks – the Commercial Bank of Syria and the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan spoke on Thursday about the ongoing violence in Syria and agreed that citizen demands for a transition to democracy must be met.

A statement released by the White House following the conversation and which was quoted on Reuters said:

“The two leaders underscored the urgency of the situation, reiterated their deep concern about the Syrian government’s use of violence against civilians and their belief that the Syrian people’s legitimate demands for a transition to democracy should be met. They agreed on the need for an immediate halt of all bloodshed and violence against the Syrian people.”

Earlier this week, Erdogan sent his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to Assad with a firm message that his government must stop killing civilians.

Davutoglu later told reporters in Ankara that his country will be watching developments in Syria in the days ahead.