U.S. says violence no answer to Syria's problems

January 7, 2012 12:44 pm 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — The U.S. State Department on Friday "categorically condemned" the car bombing attack in central Damascus, saying that violence of any kind is not the right answer to the problems in Syria.

"Let me say that we categorically condemn the attack that took place near the police station in Damascus neighborhood of al-Midan today," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a regular news briefing.

"We do not think violence of any kind at anybody's hands is the right answer to the problems in Syria," she said. "The right answer is for a democratic transition of power, for Assad to step aside and for a national dialogue to begin."

She noted that the suicide attack, which killed about 25 people, took place about three kilometers away from the U.S. embassy.

The blast was the second deadly attack in the Syrian capital city of Damascus since the eruption of mass protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in mid-March. On Dec. 23, two suicide bombings targeted two intelligence centers in Damascus, leaving 44 people dead and 166 others injured.

The Arab League monitors entered Syria last week to conduct a field study of the situation in the Arab nation.

"We really do believe that the monitors are doing their very best," Nuland said. "I think the question here is whether the Syrian regime is cooperating fully with the monitors across the broad spectrum of commitments that it made."

"I would anticipate that when the Arab League meets on Sunday, it will be evaluating the work of its own monitors," she added.

Allowing in monitors is part of the peace plan brokered by the Arab League, which also calls for the Syrian government to stop all acts of violence, withdraw armed elements from populated areas and release all political prisoners. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/eds

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