News / Middle East

Jordan's King Abdullah Calls for Assad's Resignation

Jordan's King Abdullah, Nov. 14, 2011
Jordan's King Abdullah, Nov. 14, 2011

Jordan's King Abdullah has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, the first Arab leader to do so since the Syrian government started its deadly crackdown on an eight-month-long uprising.

King Abdullah said in an interview with the BBC Monday that he would step down if he were in Assad's position and create a way for Syrians to start "a new phase of political life."

Meanwhile, Syria has accused the Arab League of taking a "dangerous step" by voting to suspend its membership in the regional bloc.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem shows documents during a news conference in Damascus, November 14, 2011, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem shows documents during a news conference in Damascus, November 14, 2011, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.

In a news conference Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Saturday's vote is "illegitimate" because the motion to suspend Syria did not receive unanimous approval in the 22-member body. Eighteen nations led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar voted in favor of sanctioning Damascus, while Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against the sanctioning. Iraq abstained.

The motion said Syria's membership will be suspended beginning Wednesday if Damascus continues to violate an Arab League peace deal to end the violent crackdown. League foreign ministers are due to meet Wednesday in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to discuss the situation.

Al-Moallem said Damascus has taken measures to implement the Arab League plan. He predicted that Russia and China will continue to block Western efforts to impose sanctions on Syria through the U.N. Security Council.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed Monday to extend existing EU sanctions against Syria to 18 more individuals suspected of links to the violent suppression of opposition protests. The 27-nation EU also decided to stop Syria from accessing funds from the European Investment Bank.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated Moscow's support for the Syrian president's government Monday, saying Russia opposes Syria's suspension from the Arab League. But China's foreign ministry said it is important for Syria to implement the Arab League peace plan as soon as possible.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday Ankara will take a "resolute stance" against any further attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria. He also said Turkey will stand by the Syrian people in what he called their "rightful struggle" against the Assad government.

Syria continued its violent crackdown Sunday, with activists reporting at least nine people killed in shootings by security forces across the country.

The U.N. human rights agency says at least 3,500 people have been killed in Syria in connection with anti-Assad protests since March. Syria blames much of the violence on foreign-backed "terrorists and thugs."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid