WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, issued the following statement on President Obama’s call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down:

“I agree with President Obama’s charge to President Assad that he step down. Under Bashar Assad and his late father, Syria has long been an international pariah. Syria has been a proxy for Iran, a key sponsor for Hezbollah, and a threat to regional stability. The events of recent months have demonstrated the brutality of this regime to the world and the extent to which it will go to preserve its tenuous grasp on power.

“As the Arab uprisings continue throughout the region, the Administration must do a better job of clarifying American interests in the Middle East and North Africa. While the Administration was quick to call for the resignation of America’s long time friend and ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, it was quite slow to call for the resignation of the brutal tyrant Muammar Qaddafi, who appears to be clinging to power by the very thinnest of threads. Similarly, while I applaud the decision by the President demanding that President Assad relinquish his position, his call for this action was belated.”