Report: Obama seeking Russia aid in orderly Syria regime change (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Haaretz 05/27/12)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is working to convince Russia to join an
effort to implement a Yemen-style transfer of power in war-torn
Syria, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
According to Obama´s reported plan, Syrian President Bashar Assad
would step down from power, while several members of his regime would
remain in office, as was the case with ousted Yemen President Ali
Abdullah Saleh earlier this year.
To accomplish this, the U.S. president is reportedly seeking the aid
of staunch Assad ally Russia, hoping to sway Moscow away from its
total objection to the idea of regime change in Syria.
U.S. administration officials, speaking to the New York Times on
condition of anonymity, said that Obama had already brought up the
plan during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at
the Group of 8 meeting at Camp David last week, adding that Medvedev
A senior official told the New York Times that during the
meeting “Medvedev raised the example of Mubarak in a cage,” as a
negative form of power transfer, to which Obama “countered with
Yemen, and the indication was, yes, this was something we could talk
However, while Medvedev did not outright reject the notion of a Yemen-
style power transfer, the final say would have to be that of Russian
President Vladimir Putin, with which Obama will discuss the issue in
a meeting planned for next month.
According to the New York Times Obama´s National Security Adviser Tom
Donilon, raised the plan with Mr. Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.
In addition, American officials told the Times that Russia would be
allowed to retain its influence in post-Assad Syria, saying: “Look,
we recognize that Russia wants to have a continued influence in
Syria,” adding that the U.S. “interest is in stabilizing the
situation, not eliminating Russian influence.”
Earlier Saturday, the international community forcibly criticized
Assad´s regime after the United Nations said that more than 92 people
were killed in what activists described as an artillery barrage by
government forces on the central Syrian town of Houla.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement, "Those
who perpetrated this atrocity must be identified and held to account.
The United States will work with the international community to
intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder
and fear must come to an end."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the violence as
a "massacre", and said he wanted to arrange a meeting in Paris of the
Friends of Syria, a group that brings together Western and Arab
countries keen to remove Assad.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was coordinating
a "strong response" to the killings and would call for the Security
Council to meet in the coming days.
In a statement, Arab League head Nabil Elaraby called the killing in
Houla a "horrific crime", urging the UN Security Council - where
Russia and China have protected Syria - to "stop the escalation of
killing and violence by armed gangs and government military forces."
(© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/28/12)
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