May 26 2011

Graham, McCain, Lieberman, Rubio say Time for Syrian Leader to Go

WASHINGTON -- Today, Senators John McCain (AZ-R), Joe Lieberman (CT-ID), Lindsey Graham (SC-R) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement regarding Syria:

"In his speech one week ago, President Obama gave Bashar al Assad one last chance. Bashar had a choice to make, the President said: either embrace the democratic reforms demanded by the Syrian people, or get out of the way.

"It is now clear which choice Bashar al Assad has made, and that it is time for him to step aside. In the week since the President's speech, Assad's regime has continued its violent and brutal assault against the Syrian people. Mass graves have been found in Syria, while human rights groups estimate that more than one thousand people have been killed and over 8,000 people have been unlawfully detained or forcibly disappeared.

"Having ignored President Obama's appeal, Bashar al Assad and his regime must now bear the consequences. We urge President Obama to declare, as the Syrian protesters have, that Bashar al Assad has lost his legitimacy and it is time for him to go.

"We also hope the Obama Administration will work with our allies and partners to raise the situation in Syria at the UN Security Council and secure the passage of a meaningful resolution there. We commend the General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) for its condemnation of the violence in Syria, and urge our Administration to work with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other regional partners to ratchet up the pressure on Assad in other forums and lend greater support to the Syrian people.

"Finally, at the same time the United States and the international community target the Syrian regime for its campaign of barbaric human rights abuses, we must also hold Bashar al Assad accountable for his other violations of international law. In particular, the evidence is now clear and convincing that Syria has pursued illicit nuclear activities in violation of the NPT and stonewalled the IAEA investigation. It is time for the IAEA Board of Governors to find the Syrian government in noncompliance of its NPT obligations and refer the Assad regime to the UN Security Council."