U.S. seeks "forceful" Arab League message on Syria

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:58am IST

Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, former director general of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, speaks on Saudi issues in Washington November 15, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley

Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, former director general of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, speaks on Saudi issues in Washington November 15, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hopes the Arab League will use its next meeting on Wednesday to send a forceful message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to halt violence against his own people, the State Department said.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was pleased with the Arab League's move on Saturday to suspend Syria, and hoped for more follow-up when Arab foreign ministers meet in Morocco on Wednesday.

"We look for the Arab League tomorrow to again send a forceful message to Assad that he needs to allow for a democratic transition to take place and end the violence against his people," Toner told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Toner cited forceful statements from Syria's neighbor Turkey and the European Union's move to target 18 people in a new round of Syria sanctions as evidence that an international consensus was forming about how to deal with Syria's crisis.

"The drumbeat of international pressure is increasing on Assad," Toner said.

The United States has repeatedly called on Assad to step down, but has said it is working with Arab and other allies to develop a coordinated response to a crisis that the United Nations says has killed more than 3,500 people since anti-government protests began in March.

Syria's government blames armed gangs sponsored from abroad for killing at least 1,100 troops and police.

The Arab League has asked Syria's opposition groups to draw up their plans for a transition of power as a prelude to a wider gathering on Syria's future planned by the Cairo-based body.

Toner said that the United States was in touch with a number of Syrian opposition groups including the Syrian National Council, and would remain in contact with them as they consider their next steps.

"We certainly do consider the Syrian opposition to be developing, to be becoming more cohesive as we move forward," Toner said.

Toner said the U.S. Embassy in Damascus had confirmed that 42 civilians were killed by Syrian security forces on Monday, and acknowledged that other reports have put the number of deaths far higher.

"Since Syria said it was going to comply with the Arab League's demands, it's actually increased violence against these protesters," Toner said.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage