• Associate Sponsor
»
1-min read

Don't delay implementing peace plan: US to Assad

News18

Updated: April 2, 2012, 6:41 AM IST
facebook Twitter google skype whatsapp
Don't delay implementing peace plan: US to Assad
Clinton also noted that the Syrian opposition was becoming better focused, better organised and more inclusive.

Istanbul: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday he could no longer delay implementing a UN-Arab League peace proposal to end fighting in Syria.

Speaking after a meeting between Western and Arab officials and members of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul, Clinton said Assad had so far refused to implement the Annan peace plan.

"There is no more time for excuses or delays ... this is a moment of truth," Clinton told a news conference.

Clinton also noted that the Syrian opposition was becoming better focused, better organised and more inclusive.

The Syrian National Council was recognised by the "Friends of Syria" group of 83 countries as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and the main opposition interlocutor for the international community.

Turning to other high-profile issues in the region, Clinton said that the United States would welcome a decision by Iran that nuclear weapons were un-Islamic, so long as Tehran observed that principle.

She was responding to reports that Turkish leaders were told in Tehran last week that the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni viewed weapons of mass destruction as prohibited by Islam.

"We are certainly open to believing that this is the position, but of course the international community now wants to see actions associated with that statement of belief," Clinton said. "The Iranians also have to know that this is not an open-ended discussion."

Iran is expected to renew negotiations with six world powers on April 13 to discuss it nuclear programme, after more than a year without talks. Western powers suspect Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes.

Asked about the decision by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - the strongest party in the Egyptian parliament - to field a candidate in a presidential election, Clinton said the United States would be following the vote closely but urged political actors not to discriminate against women, minorities, or political opponents.

"We want to see Egypt move forward in a democratic transition and what that means is that you do not or cannot discriminate against religious minorities, women, political opponents," she said.

Secular groups have criticised the Brotherhood of packing a new assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution, with Islamists at the expense of minority groups.

First Published: April 2, 2012, 6:41 AM IST
facebook Twitter google skype whatsapp