Clinton: Russia, China
Blocking Progress on Syria 'Intolerable'
July 7, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is "intolerable" that
Russia and China continue to block a peaceful resolution of the crisis
in Syria by backing President Bashar al-Assad. Secretary Clinton told a
Paris meeting of governments supporting Assad opponents that the United
Nations should impose economic sanctions against Damascus.
Secretary Clinton says it is not enough for the so-called Friends of the
Syrian People to support Assad opponents when Russia and China are
"holding up progress."
"I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge, but
demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the
legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," Clinton said. "It is
frankly not enough just to come to the Friends of the Syrian People
because I will tell you very frankly, I don't think Russia and China
believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing
up on behalf of the Assad regime."
Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed tougher U.N. Security Council
action against Syria. But they have agreed to the authority of an
eventual transitional governing body for the country, something that
Secretary Clinton says should be part of a new resolution demanding
implementation of a U.N./Arab League peace plan.
"We now have them on record supporting a transition," Clinton added.
"And we should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council
that imposes real and immediate consequences for non-compliance,
including sanctions under Chapter 7."
Senior U.S. officials traveling with Secretary Clinton say that Chapter
7 resolution will not include U.N. troops, but will focus instead on
unified international economic sanctions. Past enthusiasm for a weapons
embargo is waning amid questions about enforcing compliance by Russian
and Iran as well as concern about its potential impact on the armed
Russia and China are not part of these talks in Paris, which include
representatives from nearly 100 countries, including some 40 foreign
Since Russia and China agreed to the authorities of a transitional
government at a meeting in Geneva last week, there have been conflicting
interpretations about whether that deal means President Assad must give
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the Geneva agreement imposes
nothing on the Syrian people as it puts no preconditions on national
dialogue and excludes no one from the process.
Speaking in Paris Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said
President Assad and some of the countries who met in Geneva are
mistakenly interpreting his future.
"Transition involves change," said Davutoglu. "Why do we need a
transition government? We need a transition government because the
existing government is not legitimate, is not efficient to control the
country and to lead a transitional process."
says delaying the process increases the danger and allows the Assad
government to kill more people.
The United Nations says there are more than one million Syrians in need
of urgent humanitarian assistance. Reading a statement from U.N.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, assistant secretary general for political
affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco says the Syrian conflict is at a
"Killings, abductions, and kidnappings have also become increasingly
inter-communal, threatening to erode the very fabric of Syrian society,"
noted Fernandez-Taranco. "A sectarian civil war in Syria would be
devastating for Syria and for the region."
The head of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria, Major General Robert
Mood, says violence has reached "unprecedented" levels and there must a
cease-fire before unarmed observer teams can resume their mission.