Joe Biden urges Assad to quit

Biden called for a peaceful transition in Syria where the regime`s crackdown has claimed more than 4,000 lives according to the United Nations.

Updated: Dec 02, 2011, 19:13 PM IST

Ankara: US Vice President Joe Biden urged Syria`s Bashar al-Assad to quit, in a Turkish newspaper interview published on Friday, adding to growing global pressure on the regime over its crackdown on dissidents.

"The United States` position on Syria is clear. The Syrian regime must end its brutality against its own people and President Assad must step down so a peaceful transition that respects the will of the people can take place," Biden told the newspaper.

The Vice President, who arrived in Ankara late yesterday
directly from an Iraq visit, called for a peaceful transition
in Syria where the regime`s crackdown has claimed more than
4,000 lives according to the United Nations.

"Syria`s stability is important. That is exactly why we
are insisting on change -- it is the current situation that is
unstable," Biden said in response to emailed questions from
the daily.

"Lasting stability can come when there is a government
that listens to its people and addresses their needs, rather
than turning their guns on them."

Europe and the United States tightened economic sanctions
on Syria yesterday, including bans on exporting gas and oil
industry equipment and trading Syrian government bonds in an
effort to choke off funding.

Biden praised Turkey`s "real" leadership on Syria.

"Turkey has been a real leader on this issue. I commend
Prime Minister Erdogan`s recent call for Mr. Assad to step
down because of the regime`s treatment of its people, as well
as Turkish leaders` calls for others in the international
community to support the Syrian people," he said.

PTI