(PRETORIA, South Africa) — Syria was on the mind of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, even as she was meeting with South Africa’s foreign minister in Pretoria.
As the nearly 18-month-long civil war shows no sign of ending, more Syrian government and military figures have defected, including President Bashar al-Assad’s prime minister on Monday, who was only recently hired.
Clinton said that these developments are the clearest indication yet that the regime is on the brink of collapse and that it was time for the U.S. and its allies to begin preparation for post-al-Assad Syria.
Speaking with reporters, the top U.S. envoy said, “The intensity of the fighting in Aleppo, the defections, really point out how imperative it is that we come together and work toward a good transition plan.”
Admitting that she couldn’t predict when al-Assad will be totally out of the picture, Clinton said she would talk more about transition when she visits Turkish officials on Saturday in Istanbul.
The secretary of state, who’s on an 11-day tour of African nations, will wrap up her three-day visit to South Africa on Wednesday in Cape Town, where she will deliver a speech about relations between the U.S. and South Africa and the growing importance of Africa in the world economy. She will then visit Nigeria, Ghana and Benin before heading to Turkey.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Livia Borghese and Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Margot Haddad, Livia Borghese and Angela Dewan, CNN