H. Clinton warns against supporting Assad

Feb. 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM
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RABAT, Morocco, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly urged the Syrian military and business sector against supporting their president, Bashar Assad, and his regime.

Speaking Sunday in Rabat, Morocco, where she inaugurated the new U.S. Embassy, the secretary praised Morocco's role in the efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and rejected the Assad government's claim that terrorists and foreigners are to blame for it.

"And I want to reiterate my message to those Syrians who still support Assad, especially members of the Syrian military and business community: The longer you support the regime's campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor," Clinton said while responding to the welcoming remarks from Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine al-Othmani.

"If you refuse, however, to prop up the regime or take part in attacks on your fellow citizens, your countrymen and women will hail you as heroes."

Clinton said many Syrians are suffering under their government's relentless shelling. She said concrete action is needed in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, increasing pressure on the regime to stop its brutal assault on its own people, and helping to prepare for a democratic transition.

She said Moroccans are strengthening their own democracy and King Mohammed VI has begun the process of reform.

"We see women's rights protected and expanded, a more transparent and accountable government, establishing the Arab world's very first truth commission on human rights," Clinton said.

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