News / Middle East

Clinton: Russia, China Blocking Progress on Syria 'Intolerable'

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Paris talks on Syria Jun 6, 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Paris talks on Syria Jun 6, 2012
PARIS — 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 opposition.

Russia and China are not part of these talks in Paris, which include representatives from nearly 100 countries, including some 40 foreign ministers.

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 up power.

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."

Davutoglu 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 critical stage.

"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.

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Comments page of 2
by: NoT
July 27, 2012 10:23 AM
I'm still trying to wrap my thinking how China, the most arbitrary, most brutal, most murderous human rights abusing regime in modern history has a permanent on the UN Security Council? China needs to clean up its policies toward its own people and the countries it is occupying .. before being given such an international honor. Shame on the entire world for continuing to kowtow to the Communist China Party's increasingly aggressive and coercive tactics to assert itself on the global stage. Why is the world not boycotting all goods made in China?

by: dirk diggler from: home
July 11, 2012 8:00 PM
Listen we can either continue to shove our policy's down the worlds throat and wait for russi to attack or we can ef Russia up with a first strike and go about business

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 07, 2012 1:10 PM
This is a decisive poll by all standard. There are two sides to the conflict and no one should be right by taking side because there are people on all sides who will be affected by whatever decision made. I insist the best option is give Assad chance to the transit his government and conduct an election with UN and other international observers in attendance. Any other way is express victory for the extremist trending Arab Spring.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 07, 2012 8:38 AM
What is going on in Syria is like electioneering campaign. The friends of Syrian opposition are on one side while Syria is on the other with Russia, China and Iran. Inside Syria the division is even, though both sides are speaking from the nozzles of the gun at the moment, and the noise of the shootings deafen everyone even to the point of blanking out the reason. Usually the voice of opposition is louder, and because they are the ones crying out foul, the position of the those that might become marginalized if Assad goes, which is the moment muffled and confused, may become more deafening if the madness of the Arab Spring is allowed to catch up with Syria. The orderly thing to do here should be to allow Assad enough time to transit power and organize election for the people.

by: Aristide Caratzas from: Scarsdale, NY
July 07, 2012 5:37 AM
The posture by Mrs. Clinton (and US policy re Syria) boggle the mind: the US has become the hireling of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other "democracies" to topple the secular (and clearly not democratic) Assad regime. In the process, the Sunni Muslim forces driving this policy have made their intentions clear, i.e. to destroy the Christians, Alawites and the other minorities of Syria.

In other words, Mrs. Clinton is promoting the destruction of the ancient Christian community of Syria. In case the point is lost, the Christian community of Homs was already ethnically cleansed by the "New Syrian Army," hundreds have been tortured and killed, churches defiled and 50,000 have been forced to leave their homes. That's one for "democracy" in the style of the Clinton Foundation, generously backed by the aforementioned Saudis and other "democratic" allies...

by: Outsider
July 07, 2012 3:25 AM
Hillary Clinton has the courage and foresight to speak out where others have taken a "backseat" and allowed the situation to deteriorate even further ,at the expense of human lives.

by: Mike
July 06, 2012 10:07 PM
To:steve from: seekonk, ma. Where are you from? From Putin's Russia or North Korea? There would have been easy to "shoots off mouth" to other people who express their opinions. Hillary is doing everything correctly. She understands that dictators, no matter where they are in Russia or Syria, understand only the language of force.

by: Jack from: China
July 06, 2012 9:26 PM
All nations supported anti-Assad arms should not anchor their hope on Russia and China,cos they will try whatever they could to block the democratic progress for Syria people.What all nations of justice and those should lounch a plan to recurit the voluntary army enter Syira to support and fight with Assad' military secretively.

by: carlos from: venezuela
July 06, 2012 3:47 PM
look to Christ, the end is near

by: Mike
July 06, 2012 2:54 PM
Hillary Clinton should stop empty talks with Russia and China. These two countries are not democracies, and will always oppose the policies of the West and the U.S.. Romney was right when he described Russia as an enemy of the United States. So it's time to use force against the Assad regime, and do not care about the interests of Russia.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 07, 2012 9:48 AM
Each country represents its own interest. US think more of its interst in middle east than the named "democracy"!!!
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 06, 2012 10:52 PM
I do not think the U.S. is always right. I prefer discussing instead of simply violence to deal with this issue.
In Response

by: AntiWarMonger
July 06, 2012 5:30 PM
"Russia and China continue to block a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria ". Do Americans understand what "peaceful" mean? We all see how "peaceful" it was with Iraq war and Arab Spring. Are you sure you won't create another Egypt?
In Response

by: steve from: seekonk, ma.
July 06, 2012 5:04 PM
hilary shoots off her mouth about other countries. it appears to me she has been riding the wrong horse when it comes to the middle east. six months to go. then your out. many americans will jump for joy when you leave.
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