News / Middle East

Clinton Lashes Out at Syria, Russia, China

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference following the Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis, Tunisia, February 24, 2012.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference following the Friends of Syria Conference in Tunis, Tunisia, February 24, 2012.
Al Pessin

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at Russia and China over their Syria policy Friday, at the conclusion of a meeting in Tunis designed to increase pressure on the Syrian regime and its supporters to allow democratic change.

Secretary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have even more blood on his hands if he does not stop the violence and allow humanitarian aid to reach civilian areas his troops have been shelling for weeks. But she reserved some of her harshest words for Assad's main international supporters, Russia and China, who vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have condemned him.

“They are setting themselves against the aspirations not only of the Syrian people, but of the entire Arab Spring, the Arab awakening. It's quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto when people are being murdered," said Clinton. "It is just despicable. And I ask, 'Whose side are they on?' They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people.”

Russia, China called out

Clinton said the Russian, Chinese and Syrian positions are contrary to history and are not sustainable.

She also said several times that there are signs that the network of domestic support around Assad is cracking, and she called on members of his security services, in particular, to break with the regime.

“Their continuing to kill their brothers and sisters is a stain on their honor. Their refusal to continue this slaughter will make them heroes in the eyes of not only Syrians, but people of conscience everywhere,” said Clinton.

"Friends of Syria" Key Facts

  • Who: More than 73 entities, including the United States, European and Arab nations, the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Key Syrian ally, Russia, will not attend.
  • What: An international meeting on Syria proposed by France and the United States
  • Where: Tunis, Tunisia
  • When: February 24, 2012
  • Why: To increase sanctions to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, to demand humanitarian access to places under government siege, and to support Syrian opposition groups with a power transition plan.

The secretary spoke after a long afternoon of meetings at the conference of the 70 countries and organizations that call themselves the Friends of the Syrian People. The meeting agreed to intensify efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged Syrian towns, but only if the Syrian government provides safe passage. The meeting did not discuss sending foreign troops, and there was no agreement on a request for arms from the main Syrian opposition group at the meeting, the Syrian National Council.

Growing network

Reuters quoted one member of the Council as being disappointed in the meeting, and some Arab delegations also were reported to have wanted to move on arms sales. One human rights group, Avaaz, said the meeting “failed to go far enough fast enough” to end the shelling and deliver aid.

The meeting agreed to continue to work with the Council, and called on it to further broaden its support inside Syria. Tunisia's foreign minister said the Council could be recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people at the Friends' meeting in Turkey in March, or the following one, planned for France in April.

Delegates also agreed to increase sanctions on the Assad regime, including possible travel bans on senior Syrian officials, freezing their assets, boycotting Syrian oil, suspending new investments and beginning to close embassies and consulates. They want Assad to step down in favor of a transitional council leading to elections and a new constitution.

Clinton said members of the Syrian regime must be held accountable for the current violence, which human rights groups say has killed about 9,000 civilians. She said Assad's days in office are numbered, and that she deeply regrets that there will be more killing before he goes.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs