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U.S. Calls on Syrian President to Leave Power

Vows no intervention during government transition

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Washington, DC
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and leave office. This announcement was endorsed by the European Union. The U.N. Security Council will also meet later today to discuss the situation.

In a written statement released from the White House this morning, Pres. Obama cited the Syrian people as the motivating factor in this decision, "The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way."  Obama also said the U.S. would not intervene in any transition of power and asked other countries not to impose their will upon Syria.

The President also declared sactions on the country, "My Administration is announcing unprecedented sanctions to deepen the financial isolation of the Assad regime."   An Executive Order requiring the immediate freeze of all assets of the Government of Syria was signed by the President that prohibits "U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria."

In brief remarks today, Sec. Clinton echoed the Presidents earlier statement, "We understand the desire of Syrian people for not foreign country to intervene, and we will respect their wishes."

The Secretary announced this and the imposition of further sanctions on the Syrian government at the State Department.

CNN reports that the U.S. “move is closely coordinated with European, Turkish and Arab allies.”  Shortly after the U.S. announcement, France, Britain and German officially added their support to the U.S. decision.

Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 5:14pm (ET)

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