Clinton calls for Syria reform after cabinet resigns

29th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged the "timely implementation of reforms" in Syria after the Middle Eastern country's cabinet resigned following two weeks of unrest.

"We're... waiting and watching to see what comes from the Syrian government," the US official said after a London conference to establish a roadmap for political transition in Libya.

"We support the timely implementation of reforms that meet the demands that Syrians are presenting to their government, such as immediately eliminating Syria's state of emergency laws, " added Clinton.

"We want to see peaceful transitions and we want to see democracies that represent the will of the people."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to announce a new cabinet before the end of the week after the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri, which has been in place since 2003, tendered its resignation Tuesday.

Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaba Tuesday told AFP that the state had decided to lift the state of emergency that imposes restrictions on public gatherings and movements and authorises the arrest of "suspects or persons who threaten security".

Despite Assad's promises of change, activists say more than 130 people have been killed and scores injured in clashes with security forces at pro-reform rallies. Officials have put the death toll at around 30.

"It is up to the Syrian government, it is up to the leadership, starting with President Bashar al-Assad, to prove that it can be responsive to the needs of its own people," continued Clinton.

Clinton said that the US was watching to see whether Assad's promises "will actually be turned into reality."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, also speaking after the London talks, condemned the use of "all violence in the repression of popular protests," but said it was too early to consider sanctions against Syria.

© 2011 AFP

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