Assad at 'point of no return,' says France's Juppe
President Bashar al-Assad has reached "a point of no return," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday following the Syrian leader's speech to his troubled nation.
"Some believe there's still time for him to change his ways and commit to a (reform) process," Juppe said after Assad suggested in a televised speech that dialogue could lead to a new constitution.
"For my part, I doubt it. I think that the point of no return has been reached," he told reporters at the close of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
Assad's speech, his third bid in three months to placate protesters, offered no reason to take him "more seriously today than yesterday," the Frenchman said.
The Syrian leader said dialogue could lead to a new constitution and even the end of his Baath party's monopoly on power, but stated that he refused to reform Syria under "chaos."
His remarks immediately drew condemnation from pro-democracy activists who vowed that the "revolution" -- now in its fourth month -- must go on.
Juppe remarked that Assad had pledged reform previously but had never kept his word.
"Announcing elections when you continue to send tanks against civilians has no meaning," he added.
© 2011 AFP