Jordan’s King Abdullah calls on Syrian President Assad to step down


Jordan’s King Abdullah called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power in the interest of his country, the first call of its kind by an Arab leader, the BBC reported Monday.

“If Bashar had an interest in his country he would step down,” King Abdullah told the BBC World News. “I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down,” he added.

“I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing.”

It was the first time an Arab leader has clearly asked President Assad to step down.

On Aug. 8, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz demanded an end to the bloodshed in Syria and recalled his country’s ambassador from Damascus, in a rare case of one of the Arab world’s most powerful leaders intervening against another.

The Saudi monarch said that Syria’s future lies in choosing between wisdom or chaos. It was the sharpest criticism the oil giant has directed against any Arab state since a wave of protests roiled the Middle East and toppled autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

Jordan has been critical of the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown that has killed more than 3,500 people. On Saturday, the kingdom voted in the Arab League for a resolution to suspend the membership of Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Monday dismissed the Arab League’s decision as a conspiracy and vowed that his country will not budge.

Today there is a crisis in Syria which pays the price of its strong positions. Syria will not budge and will emerge stronger... and plots against Syria will fail," said the minister.