(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. State Department took issue with Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s supposed “roadmap” for peace, and said his recent public speech was nothing more than a desparate attempt to cling to power.
Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday accused al-Assad of being “detached from reality” while repeating the Obama administration’s calls for him to leave power.
The White House contends that al-Assad is making a half-hearted effort to end the 22-month conflict while spurring sectarian warfare that is tearing Syria apart.
In his speech Sunday, al-Assad offered a peace plan that called for the rebels to first lay down their arms before his military does. Al-Assad said the next steps would include a transitional government, a new constitution and finally, a new government. However, he made no mention of stepping down, which is an immediate deal breaker as far as his enemies are concerned.
Most of his address targeted the government’s enemies, who al-Assad labeled as “the killers and the criminals.”
In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said al-Assad “bears no responsibility at all…He is making the wrong deductions. He is making wrong deductions about the historical process that is happening and continues to happen in Syria.”
At least 60,000 people have died since March 2011, according to United Nations estimates, and the number of refugees fleeing the country is expected to grow to one million within the next six months.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN