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AL mission in Syria should not continue indefinitely: Clinton

(Xinhua)

13:10, January 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the Arab League (AL) monitoring mission in Syria should not continue indefinitely, slamming the recent speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "chillingly cynical."

"I think that it's clear to both the prime minister and myself that the monitoring mission should not continue indefinitely," Clinton told reporters at the State Department alongside visiting Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

"We cannot permit President Assad and his regime to have impunity. Syrians deserve a peaceful transition," she said.

Clinton said the United States was looking forward to work with the AL when the current monitoring mission expires on Jan. 19, without specifying what actions the United States planned to take.

In response to Assad's fourth speech since the eruption of unrest in Syria in mid-March, she sharply criticized it as " chillingly cynical."

Instead of taking responsibility, the speech was "only making excuses, blaming foreign countries, conspiracies so vast that now it includes the Syrian opposition, the international community, all international media outlets, the Arab League itself," said Clinton.

Assad, in his Tuesday speech at the Damascus University, vowed to fight the "terrorists" in his country with an "iron fist," accusing them of working to pave the way for foreign interventions.

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