Entries in Step Down (3)


GOP Candidates: Obama Took Too Long to Condemn Syria's Assad

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House probably expected that the three top GOP candidates for president wouldn't have anything positive to say about Thursday's decision to call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's resignation.

And those expectations proved true.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann all accused President Obama of taking too long to condemn the Syrian dictator as Syrians continue to die after months of deadly crackdowns on Assad's political opponents.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Perry said the president's action was "long overdue" because al-Assad not only threatens his own people but also "the security and stability of the entire Middle East."

Romney was no less critical, asserting, "It has taken President Obama far too long to speak out forcefully against Assad and his vicious crackdown in Syria."

He blamed the president for using the word "reformer" to describe the Syrian leader early on in the crisis, which Romney alleged emboldened al-Assad.

Meanwhile in South Carolina, Bachmann mused that "better late than never" is the wrong way to conduct foreign policy.  She added there has been not enough force used to pressure al-Assad to stop killing his own people.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US to Declare Syrian President Bashar Assad Must Go

Sasha Mordovets/Getty ImagesUPDATE: As expected, President Obama released a paper statement Thursday morning asking Syrian President Bashar Assad to "step aside."

"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way," the statement reads.  "His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people.  We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way.  He has not led.  For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."

(WASHINGTON) -- The United States is preparing to declare that Syrian President Bashar Assad -- whose regime has reportedly killed hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators through its ongoing crackdown -- must step down, ABC News has learned.

According to U.S. officials, the announcement from the White House is expected to be made Thursday morning, most likely in a paper statement from President Obama.

Thursday's declaration is expected to be made in conjunction with similar announcements from several other countries.  On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the National Defense University that the U.S. doesn't want to be the only voice when this is announced.

Along with asking Assad to step down, U.S. officials tell ABC News that the U.S. will also present a new executive order that will allow tougher, broader, new sanctions, and will call for broader enforcement of existing sanctions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Yemen President Calls Protests a 'Coup'

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Even with reports about Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreeing to a deal to step down, protestors continued demonstrations on the streets of Yemen on Sunday.

Thousands of demonstrators reportedly hit the streets of Sana’a and other parts of the country, protesting the deal offered to Saleh, according to published reports.

On Saturday officials said Saleh agreed to a deal that would see him stepping down from office within 30 days. The deal, which was brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, also includes immunity for Saleh and those who served as part of his regime.

On Saturday the White House issued a statement saying that the United States supports a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen that is responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

In an interview with BBC’s Lina Sinjab on Sunday, Saleh called the protests against him a “coup” and said that Al Qaeda is moving inside Yemen and being destructive in the country.

“You call on me to hand over power from the US and Europe, but who should I hand it over to?” Saleh said in the BBC interview. “We will do it through ballot boxes and referendums, we’ll invite international monitors, but we will not accept a coup.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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