Prince Turki al-Faisal speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, Nov 15, 2011
A senior Saudi prince says it is inevitable that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will step down because he has not responded to calls to halt the violence against protesters. Prince Turki al-Faisal made the comments during remarks in Washington.
Speaking to reporters, Prince Turki says the Syrian president has not responded to numerous efforts to end the deadly crackdown by government security forces on his political opposition.
“With the growing popular opposition to him and the killing everyday I think it is inevitable that he will have to step down," said Prince Turki.
Turki spoke a day after Jordan’s King Abdullah became the first Arab leader to publicly urge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave office.
Turki, a former chief of the Saudi intelligence service, also said there is “ample and heinous evidence” that members of the Iranian government were involved in an assassination plot against the current Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
“The web of connections that were uncovered between the would-be assassins, elements of the Iranian government, especially senior members of the Quds brigade and Mexican drug cartels, indicates the depths of depravity and unreason to which the Ahmadinejad regime has sunk," he said.
U.S. officials have accused two suspects of conspiring to carry out a $1.5 million plot by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds force to kill Saudi envoy Adel al-Jubeir by bombing a Washington restaurant.
Iran has denied involvement in the case.
Turki urged Iran to prosecute any of its citizens who played a role in the alleged plot.
“If there are any names mentioned of Iranian officials in that case accused of plotting against the Saudi ambassador then those officials should be brought to justice in Iran," said Turki.
Turki, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., said he was speaking as a private citizen.