Hillary Clinton tells Assad to quit

 

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today to hand over power
and leave his country, condemning a massacre near the town of Hama that
opponents have blamed on his supporters as "unconscionable".

Clinton said the United States was willing to work with all members of the UN Security Council, which includes Russia, on a conference on Syria's political future as long as it started with the premise that Assad gave way to a democratic government.

"Assad must transfer power and depart Syria," Clinton told a news conference in Istanbul after meeting foreign ministers from Arab and Western nations to discuss counterterrorism.

"The regime-sponsored violence that we witnessed again in Hama yesterday is simply unconscionable. Assad has doubled down on his brutality and his duplicity and Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable or certainly democratic until Assad goes."

United Nations observers have been prevented from reaching the village of Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama where anti-Assad activists say Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to the president massacred at least 78 villagers, the head of the monitoring mission said today.

The reported carnage came hours before a divided UN Security Council discusses Syria.

The latest killings will heap pressure on world powers to act, but they have been stymied by divisions pitting Western and most Arab states against Assad's defenders in Russia, China and Iran.

Clinton urged the international community to unite behind an "achievable" plan and said Washington was willing to cooperate with any state as long as they agreed that Assad had to cede power.

"We are prepared to work with any country, including all members of the UN Security Council and we will do so, so long as any such gathering starts from the basic premise that Assad and his regime must give way to a new, democratic Syria."

Clinton said she would send her special adviser on Syria to Moscow tomorrow to discuss with the Russian government the need for political transition in Syria.

She suggested that peace envoy Kofi Annan's plan, whose central plank was a ceasefire that never took hold, needed to be given a last chance, saying other nations - presumably Russia and China - would not support stronger action unless its failure was incontestable.

"We think it is important for us to give Kofi Annan and his plan the last amount of support that we can muster because, in order to bring others into a frame of mind to take action in the Security Council, there has to be a final recognition that it's not working," Clinton said.

Asked about upcoming nuclear talks between Iran and Britain, France, Russia, China, the United States and Germany - otherwise known as the P5+1, in Moscow on June 18, Clinton said Tehran needed to be prepared to take "concrete steps".

"We want them to come prepared to take concrete steps, particularly in the area of 20 enrichment," Clinton said.

Iran is refining uranium to 20 per cent of fissile purity - well above the level required to run nuclear power plants - for what it says will be fuel for a medical research reactor.

But Western officials are worried because the 20 per cent level hurdles major technical barriers to reaching the 90 per cent - or bomb-grade - threshold and they believe Iran is stockpiling more material than it needs for nuclear medicine.

Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Principal Arboricultural Consultant

£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Principal Arboricu...

Trainee Digital Forensic Analyst

£17000 - £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Trainee Digital Fo...

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Planning Manager (Training, Learning and Development) - London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment