Arab League 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Wednesday expressed
reservations about whether Damascus would live up to an Arab League plan
aimed at ending a violent crackdown on protesters and repeated the US
call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.
The US State Department said it would review details of a deal
announced by the Arab League under which it said Syria had agreed to a
complete halt to violence, the release of prisoners, removing the
military presence from cities and residential areas and allowing the
Arab League and media access to report on the situation.
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State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland suggested that Washington had doubts about the viability of the plan.
made a lot of promises to the international community in the past,"
Nuland told a news briefing, saying the core issue was "a real process
of democratization in Syria."
"That is the basis on which we will judge whatever has been agreed
to here," Nuland said. "We're not going to judge them by their words,
we're going to judge them by their actions."
"There is a risk here that they are trying to string out diplomacy, that
they are trying to offer their own people half steps, or quarter
measures, rather than taking the real steps."
The White House
said Assad should step aside, repeating a call made repeatedly since US
President Barack Obama in August said the long-time Syrian ruler was
standing in the way of real reform in the country.
"Our position remains that President Assad has lost his legitimacy
to rule and should step down," White House spokesman Jay Carney told
"We support all international efforts that are aimed toward convincing the regime to stop attacking its own people."
The United States has imposed a series of sanctions on Syrian
officials and government organizations since Damascus launched the
crackdown in March, and Nuland said Washington remained concerned about
continued violence despite the Arab League mediation effort.