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Clinton contrasts Syrian, Libyan unrest

March 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sunday condemned repression in Syria but distinguished the situation there from Libya.

Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," she said, "Each of these situations is unique. Certainly we deplore the violence in Syria."

Referring to President Bashar Assad, she said, "There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer."

Also on the program, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Assad should learn "the lessons … from Egypt, where a military stood aside and allowed peaceful protests and allowed political events to take their course.

"In terms of whether he should stand down or not ... these kinds of things are up to the Syrians themselves."

Gates also distinguished between the "military mission" in Libya authorized by the U.N. no-fly zone resolution and the U.S. "policy objective" of Moammar Gadhafi's ouster. He said they were not contradictory.

Clinton said there has been "no decision" about arming the Libyan rebels.

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