Bashar al-Assad may be able to remain as leader of Syria under a plan for a government transition approved by major powers Saturday. The U.S., Russia, and officials of other governments met in Geneva to discuss the plan authored by former UN Secretary General Koffee Annan.
Under Annan’s plan, members of Assad’s current administration, as well as of his family, could remain in power under a new administration. It would be up to the Syrian people if the wanted Assad himself to remain in power. However, Annan said after the meeting, “I will doubt that the Syrians who have fought to hard for their independence will select people with blood on their hands to lead them.”
“An international crisis of grave severity now looms,” Annan said. Syria, he said was now “filled with weapons—including those of the most insidious kind—and in the midst of one of the most delicately balanced and conflict-torn regions in the world. This is the situation we allowed to emerge. Without unity between you, any action by one will lead to the opposite reaction by another, thwarting the aims of either side. We have already seen this taking place.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said that it would be up to the Syrian people to decide who would be in charge of the country. He did not discount the possibility of Assad’s remaining in power. However, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Assad will still have to go. He will never pass the ‘mutual consent’ test given the blood on his hands,” she added, referring to the statement issued after the meeting that the Syrian people would decide their future government.
According to the statement, “It is for the people of Syria to come to a political agreement, but time is running out.”
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