Remarks by Secretary Clinton at Meeting with Syrian National Council
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release: December 6, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
At Meeting with Syrian National Council
December 6, 2011
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me begin by saying that it’s an honor to meet with all of you, the president and senior members of the Syrian National Council. I look forward to our discussion and hearing from each of you. I am particularly interested in the work you are doing about how a democratic transition would proceed. Fred Hof, my special coordinator, has told me that you’ve put a lot of work into that paper, and there are many very constructive ideas in it, because obviously, a democratic transition includes more than removing the Asad regime. It means setting Syria on the path of the rule of law and protecting the universal rights of all citizens regardless of sect or ethnicity or gender.
Second, we will discuss the work that the Council is doing to ensure that their plan is to reach out to all minorities, to counter the regime’s divide-and-conquer approach, which pits ethnic and religious groups against one another. The Syrian opposition, as represented here, recognizes that Syria’s minorities have legitimate questions and concerns about their future, and that they need to be assured that Syria will be better off under a regime of tolerance and freedom that provides opportunity and respect and dignity on the basis of the consent rather than on the whims of a dictator.
And we certainly believe that if Syrians unite, they together can succeed in moving their country to that better future. We are well aware that there is a lot of hard work to be done. There are many Syrians in exile who are committed to helping their country make this transition. And there are many Syrians in their homes and neighborhoods and communities who are struggling against the violence and the repression to realize that better future as well.
I think Syrians both in exile and inside Syria are behaving with great courage and commitment and are inspired and motivated by the aspirations of freedom and democracy that are sweeping the Arab world.
So I look forward to hearing from each of you in our time together this afternoon. Thank you very much.
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