In a televised statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the administrations position, and said that the U.N. Security Council would meet later today to discuss possible further action.
“The transition to democracy in Syria has begun,” Clinton said. It’s time for Assad to get out of the way.”
In a joint statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister David Cameron have also called on Syrian President Bashar al Assad to resign.
The White House has released a statement calling for President Bashar al Assad to step down.
“We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way,” Obama wrote in a statement released Thursday morning. “He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian People, the time has come for President Assad to step down.”
Obama has also issued an executive order freezing the Syrian government’s assets, and banning imports of Syrian petroleum products into the United States. The order also bans U.S. investment in Syria. In his statement, Obama indicated that further sanctions could be on the way from other countries as well. The Obama administration has often stated that U.S. sanctions alone would not be enough to force regime change.
The Obama administration is preparing to deliver a statement sometime today explicitly calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave office, according to the Associated Press.
That statement will be accompanied by the issuance of new sanctions on the Assad regime, and an on-camera appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reinforce the administration’s position.
This would be the first direct statement from Washington calling for Assad to leave power. Obama and cabinet officials have previously said that Assad had “lost his legitimacy,” though they’ve yet to specifically call for his departure.