SYRIA: Clinton condemns Syrian crackdown on protesters

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement late Friday while traveling in Rome, condemning the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters who took to the streets as part of the ongoing uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

‘I am deeply troubled that the Syrian Government chooses to continue to use force and intimidation against the Syrian people,’ Clinton said. ‘The United States condemns in the strongest terms the Syrian Government’s actions over the past five weeks and calls on it to immediately cease the killing, arrest, and harassment of protesters, activists, and journalists.’

Clinton said she was ‘particularly troubled’ by reports that at least 30 people had been killed when Syrian security forces ‘again opened fire’ at ‘peaceful protesters’ Friday.

‘The Syrian Government must respond to the Syrian people’s call for change. It must realize that violence and intimidation will not answer their call. The Syrian Government’s actions are neither those of a responsible government nor a credible member of the international community,’ Clinton said in the statement. She said U.S. officials planned to continue to pursue sanctions against ‘senior Syrian officials and others responsible for the reprehensible human rights abuses against the Syrian people.’ European Union officials reportedly reached an agreement Friday to pursue similar sanctions against 13 Syrian leaders, not including Assad.


‘We welcome the European Union’s decision to join us in these efforts with similar steps. We will also continue to work both unilaterally and with our international partners to determine the most effective next steps if the Syrian Government chooses not to abandon its current path,’ Clinton said.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo