Feb. 24 - U.S. President Barack Obama called on Syria to end the bloodshed, echoing appeals for peace from the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Foreign ministers gathered in the Tunisian capital Friday for the "Friends of Syria" inaugural meeting, against the backdrop of a surge in government attacks on the city of Homs and mounting world outrage over violence that has killed thousands of people during the uprising. Amateur video out of Syria shows no sign of relief in Homs In Washington, U.S. President Obama underscored the call for peace, calling for an end to the bloodshed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "All of us seeing the terrible pictures coming out of Syria and Homs recently recognize it is absolutely imperative for the international community to rally in sending a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition. It is prime time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government." In Tunisia, - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary touted a unified front. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "I think today, the Friends of the Syrian people sent a strong an unified message that the Assad regime's escalating is an affront the international community, a threat to regional security and a grave violation of universal human rights. " She also appealed to Syrian security forces to disobey orders from their commanders to carry out acts of violence. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "Their (Syrian security forces) continuing to kill their brothers and sisters is a stain on their honor. Their refusal to continue this slaughter will make them heroes in the eyes of not only Syrians but people of conscience everywhere. They can help the guns fall silent." Clinton also had words for Russia and China who blocked a UN resolution on Syria. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "It is quite distressing to see two permanent members of the security council using their veto when people are being murdered. Women, children, brave young men. Houses are being destroyed. It is just despicable. And I ask, whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people." Thousands have died in Syria since the uprisings against the government began about a year ago. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters