Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011, My Qs and As with White House Spokesman Jay Carney

Q Yes. You called Syrian President Assad to step down weeks ago, and some of the Western countries also did that. But it looks like the crackdown is going on. Nothing is changed. My question is, what is the next step?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I know as you probably know, as recently as yesterday, we identified other individuals, members of the Syrian regime for targeted sanctions, including the Foreign Minister. We continue to ratchet up the pressure on the Syrian regime.

As you noted, we recently called for President Assad to step down. His opportunity to lead a transition has ended. He squandered it. He has lost his legitimacy. And we will continue to work with our international partners to take actions that will increase pressure on Syria, to allow the Syrian people -- the Syrian regime, rather -- to allow the Syrian people to determine their own future.

Q Though there are countries like Turkey, you have been praising, and they have not taken any kind of steps on the sanctions regime, and some of the Muslim countries -- I mean, none of the Muslim countries. My question --

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you’re discounting the significance of the fact that the Arab League -- of the Arab League’s critique and of Turkey’s saying that it has lost confidence in the Syrian government. It is --

Q But no sanctions.

MR. CARNEY: I think we digest these historic things rather quickly and discount their importance. I mean, we have been through this process over a number of months here of historic and rapid change in this region. And as each of these countries have experienced dramatic upheaval I have stood -- I have, and the President and others -- have stood before you when asked why -- why isn’t this happening sooner, why isn’t this happening now, why aren’t you doing this now? And I would simply say that a little historical perspective is required here to examine the scope and the breadth of change that has taken place in this region. And it is important to recognize with regard to Libya, for example, that Libyans marched into Tripoli and took back their government. Not foreign forces; Libyans did. And that has broad significance for the region and broad significance for the potential for positive developments in Libya going forward.

So when I get questions, "but nothing has changed," it just -- everything has changed. Things have changed dramatically every day in Syria, in Libya, in the whole region. And so I understand impatience, and certainly for every day that the Syrian people suffer at the hands of the Assad regime is a day too many. And I get that. But we are working with our international partners to ratchet up pressure on the regime. We have called for Assad to step down. We will continue to take actions to isolate and pressure that regime.

Q Is the no-fly zone under any consideration right now?

MR. CARNEY: I don't want to speculate about what other -- well, first of all, I think we’ve addressed military action. But I don't want to speculate on other measures that may or may not be considered.

Agust 30, My Qs and As with State Dpt. Spox. Victoria Nuland

QUESTION: I think it was also said by Russian president that should be given two more weeks toAsad following two weeks of Turkish time. Do you agree with that? Do you think that Asad shouldhave another two weeks to come up with some kind of --

MS. NULAND: I think we said a week ago that it was time for Asad to go, and we stand by that.

QUESTION: There are calls coming from activists in Syria that it should be – and they carried thisbanner also in different part of Syria, that should be in no-fly zones, should be under consideration.They called for it. And some others called to activists to take up the guns. What’s your view on these– both two issues?

MS. NULAND: We’ve seen this reporting of a small number of folks making that call. Our contactsindicate and the public statements of opposition figures indicate that the vast majority of Syrianoppositionists want to maintain their peaceful nonviolent stance in Syria, do not want foreign militaryintervention, and want the government to stop its own violence. So from that perspective, I think we’reall in agreement that it’s for Asad to end this, and to end it now.

QUESTION: And no-fly zone, is there any – with the UN --

MS. NULAND: Again, I think I’ve made the case that the vast majority of Syrians do not wantforeign military intervention at the -- in this

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