US says Syrian referendum plan is 'laughable'

Posted by Kitara Julian On 10:04 AM
WASHINGTON — The United States Wednesday dismissed Syria's call for a referendum on a new constitution, which critics see as a move designed to ease global outrage over the government's bloody crackdown.

"It's actually quite laughable -- it makes a mockery of the Syrian revolution," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"Promises of reforms have usually been followed by an increase in brutality and have never been delivered upon by this regime since the beginning of peaceful demonstrations in Syria."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the referendum a day after his country flatly rejected UN allegations of crimes against humanity.

The proposed charter drops Article 8 which declared the ruling Baath Party as the "leader of the state and society."

Under the newly drafted constitution, freedom is "a sacred right" and "the people will govern the people" in a multi-party democracy, state television said.

Assad, who in April scrapped emergency rule in force since 1963 when the Baathists took power, has made repeated promises of reforms that have failed to materialize since a popular uprising erupted on March 15 last year. Read More

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