France, Germany say Assad should leave power

The top diplomats of France and Germany say Syrian President Bashar Assad should leave power, even though a U.N.-brokered political transition plan leaves his future role open.

This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network and accessed Friday, June 8, 2012, purports to show explosions in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, Syria. Syrian troops on Friday heavily shelled a rebel-held neighborhood in the flashpoint central city of Homs as President Bashar Assad's troops appeared to be readying to storm the area that has been out of government control for months and it was not clear if U.N. observers were able to enter an area where a massacre occurred this week, activists said. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL

PARIS (AP) -- The top diplomats of France and Germany say Syrian President Bashar Assad should leave power, even though a U.N.-brokered political transition plan leaves his future role open.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday, "Bashar Assad is a slaughterer and the sooner he leaves the better." France is hosting a meeting of diplomats Friday aimed at finding ways to end violence in Syria.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, after talks with Fabius, said Assad's acts have been "unpardonable" and his reign "must end." Westerwelle goes to Moscow on Thursday, and said he will try to persuade Russia to be firmer against Assad.

A U.N.-brokered plan adopted in Geneva on Saturday calls for a transitional government. But at Russia's insistence, the compromise said Assad could be part of the interim administration.


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