France, Germany say Assad should leave power

By the Associated Press | July 3, 2012 | 3:39 PM EDT

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, left, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle speak to the media during a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Paris Tuesday July 3, 2012. France will host a meeting in Paris of the "Friends of Syria" on July 6 of countries that back the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — The top diplomats of France and Germany say Syrian President Bashar Assad should leave power, even though a U.N.-brokered political transition plan leaves his future role open.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday, "Bashar Assad is a slaughterer and the sooner he leaves the better." France is hosting a meeting of diplomats Friday aimed at finding ways to end violence in Syria.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, after talks with Fabius, said Assad's acts have been "unpardonable" and his reign "must end." Westerwelle goes to Moscow on Thursday, and said he will try to persuade Russia to be firmer against Assad.

A U.N.-brokered plan adopted in Geneva on Saturday calls for a transitional government. But at Russia's insistence, the compromise said Assad could be part of the interim administration.