US dismisses Assad's speech, conspiracy theory

By REUTERS
March 30, 2011 21:20

 
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WASHINGTON - The US State Department dismissed a speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday as lacking substance, saying it was easier to see conspiracy theories than to meet popular demand for reforms.

In the speech, Assad defied calls to lift a decades-old emergency law and said Syria was the target of a foreign conspiracy to stir up protests in which more than 60 people have been killed.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it for the Syrian people to judge the speech but he broadly dismissed it, including Assad's assertion that Syria was subject "to a big conspiracy, whose threads extend from countries near and far."

"It's far too easy to look for conspiracy theories (than to) respond in a meaningful way to the call for reform," Toner told reporters in his daily briefing.

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