Washington: The US on Wednesday said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not willing to give up power even in the wake of popular protests against his authoritarian regime, but stressed that it would not give up its efforts to oust him.
"Based on the speech that he gave over the weekend, there doesn`t seem to be any evidence of it," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"But that doesn`t change the fact that an agreed plan about how to move forward, putting some concrete ideas forward that a broad cross section of Syrians, represented in the opposition, represented on the ground, thought made sense, that the international community could get behind" Nuland said.
"So all of it is in service of the same end, which is, Assad`s eventually going to go; we need to be maximally ready," Nuland said in response to a question, adding that there are enough indications that his days are numbered.
"First of all, he has been taking comfort in the support that the Russian Federation has been providing. So if we are able to get the Russian Federation behind a concrete plan that moves past Assad, then obviously he will see that support strip way. That will have both a psychological impact and it may have a material impact," she said.
"Those who are still supporting him within the regime may begin to see that there is, A, a better way forward for Syria; B, something that they can get behind individually; and C, that his days are numbered. So now is the time to jump. So all of this is part of the larger pressure strategy, in addition to whatever we can pull together," Nuland said.