U.S., Other 'Friends Of Syria,' To Call On Syria's Assad To Step Aside

Feb 24, 2012

As Syrian security forces continue to pound the city of Homs and surrounding areas, "the United States, Europe and Arab countries were set Friday to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents," The Associated Press writes.

The U.S., NPR's Michele Kelemen tells our Newscast Desk, is also "joining European and Arab states [who are] trying to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to allow humanitarian aid into the country."

Clinton is meeting with other diplomats from the "Friends of Syria" coalition in Tunisia.

According to the AP, the diplomats aim to give Assad a "72-hour ultimatum to end the violence and allow in aid" — a demand that "will be backed by as yet unspecified punishments."

Meanwhile, the United Nations has asked former Secretary General Kofi Annan to see if he can negotiate a cease-fire and political transition in Syria.

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