‘Friends of Syria’ consider ultimatum to Assad
The United States, Europe and Arab nations are preparing to demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad agree within days to a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid into areas hardest hit by his regime’s brutal crackdown on opponents.
U.S., European and Arab officials were meeting in London on Thursday to craft details of an ultimatum to Assad that diplomats said could demand compliance within 72 hours or result in additional as-yet-unspecified punitive measures, likely to include toughened sanctions. The ultimatum is to be presented at a major international conference on Syria set for Friday in Tunisia.
American officials accompanying U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Tunis meeting of the “Friends of Syria” said the goal is to make it clear to Assad that his regime has a moral obligation to end the shelling of civilian areas and allow assistance into the country. The message will be that the burden is on Assad to respond to the demands of the international community, they said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the ongoing discussions over how the ultimatum will be presented at the Tunis conference. Several nations have proposed creating protected corridors through which humanitarian relief can flow but it was not clear if a consensus could be reached on the matter, as such a step would almost certainly require a military component.
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- ‘Friends of Syria’ consider ultimatum to Assad (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Friends of Syria preparing to challenge Assad (cbc.ca)