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Bipartisan Group of Senators Issue Statement on Syria


Location: Washington, DC

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

"We applaud the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for referring Syria to the United Nations Security Council this week because of its noncompliance with its international obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This is an important diplomatic success for the Obama Administration and a victory for the broader cause of non-proliferation. It also sends a clear message to Bashar al Assad that the pressure on his regime for its outlaw behavior -- both at home and abroad -- is ratcheting up.

"We hope the Obama Administration will now work with our allies to bring Syria's nuclear noncompliance before the UN Security Council as quickly as possible and secure a resolution imposing sanctions on the regime -- just as we have done in the case of Iran.

"We also hope the Obama Administration will redouble its efforts to hold Bashar al Assad accountable for the horrific and escalating war he is waging against the Syrian people. In recent days, gruesome new evidence has come to light about the scope of the human rights abuses being perpetrated in Syria. The video footage of the body of a 13 year old child, Hamza Ali al Khateeb, has horrified and outraged the world. At the same time, the Syrian government continues deploying helicopter gunships, tanks, and other weapons of war against peaceful civilian protesters.

"The response of the United States and the international community has not been commensurate with the evils taking place in Syria. While Bashar al Assad pushes ahead with his campaign of repression, the Obama Administration has still not stepped forward and publicly called on him to step down. We urge the President and the Secretary of State to do so. In our continued refusal to acknowledge that Bashar al Assad has exhausted his legitimacy, we risk our own country's moral standing.

"We also urge President Obama to take other measures, in coordination with our allies, to ratchet up the pressure on the Syrian government. In particular, we encourage the Administration to consider expelling Bashar al Assad's ambassador to the United States, and encourage other countries to do the same. While we recognize this is a strong action, it is more than justified by the continued abuses taking place in Syria, and the loss of legitimacy of Bashar al Assad's regime.

"Finally, we urge the Obama Administration to lend its full diplomatic weight and support to a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that has been introduced, condemning the violence in Syria, by our European allies."

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