PARIS - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged European and other countries to impose more sanctions on Syria and President Bashar Assad, saying more pressure was needed to force him to step down.
Clinton, repeating US calls for Assad to leave office and make way for a democratic transition, urged more countries to follow the US lead and impose punishing sanctions on his government in response to its crackdown on political protests.
"Syria's transition to democracy has already begun. It is time for President Assad to acknowledge that and step aside so the Syrian people themselves can decide their own future," she told reporters in Paris following a conference on Libya.
"Those who have joined us in this call must now translate our rhetoric into concrete actions to escalate the pressure on Assad and those around him, including strong new sanctions targeting Syria's energy sector to deny the regime revenues that fund its campaign of violence," Clinton told a news conference.