WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s reported acceptance of a peace plan by envoy Kofi Annan must be matched by “immediate actions.”
Clinton’s comments came after aides to Annan said the Assad government has accepted a six-point proposal by the UN-Arab League special envoy on halting more than a year of bloodshed in the strife-hit country.
“Given Assad’s history of overpromising and under delivering, that commitment (to Annan) must now be matched by immediate actions,” Clinton told reporters.
“We will judge Assad’s sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not by what he says,” the chief US diplomat added.
Assad “can prove it by immediately ordering regime forces to stop firing and begin withdrawing from populated areas,” Clinton said.
He can also provide “unfettered access” to international aid workers, release political prisoners, permit “peaceful political activity,” and allow foreign journalists “unobstructed access,” she said.
And Assad can “begin a legitimate political process that leads to a democratic transition,” the chief US diplomat said.
Clinton took a tougher line than State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who called Assad’s reported acceptance of the plan “an important step” while cautioning that the proof will come with his actions.
The proposal — put to Assad by Annan during his visit to Damascus on March 10 and 11 — was endorsed by the UN Security Council on March 21.
Annan’s plan calls for a commitment to stop all armed violence, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire, media access to all areas affected by the fighting, an inclusive Syrian-led political process, a right to demonstrate, and release of arbitrarily detained people. (AFP)