June 1, 2012 / 3:41 AM / 8 years ago

Bill Clinton says Syria similar to Bosnia

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton answers questions in an onstage interview during the Peterson Foundation 2012 Fiscal Summit in Washington, May 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton believes the worsening situation in Syria is similar in some respects to one he faced early on in the Bosnia crisis in the 1990s, and said a way must be found to stop the violence.

In an interview with CNN, Clinton said he sympathized with President Barack Obama whose administration has resisted any U.S. military intervention to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria.

The White House, which has said its options are limited, also has rejected calls by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for more direct steps to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Clinton said he believes the world “would come rushing to help Syria” if Assad left but said it was “very difficult” for the United States to act alone.

“We have to respect the constraints that are now on the president and our government,” Clinton said, noting that the situation in Syria was similar to the one he faced when violence flared in the former Yugoslav Republic.

“We’re in this place in Syria where I was with Bosnia in 1993 and 1994. It took us two years,” Clinton said, adding that he was determined to intervene but could not do it alone.

Clinton said other European countries had to first be “persuaded to support our position.”

Reporting by John Crawley; editing by Christopher Wilson

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