News / Middle East

Russia Rejects US Push for More Pressure on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fourth right, attend a reception at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Sept. 8, 2012.Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fourth right, attend a reception at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Sept. 8, 2012.
x
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fourth right, attend a reception at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Sept. 8, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fourth right, attend a reception at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Sept. 8, 2012.
Russia is rejecting a U.S. push for stronger action against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States will continue to work outside the United Nations if Russia and China keep blocking U.N. action.

A senior U.S. official says Secretary Clinton came to her meetings with Russian officials on the sidelines of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum hoping to convince them to reconsider Russia's opposition to stiffer penalties against President Assad as part of efforts to push him toward political transition.

That did not happen. Secretary Clinton says she and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did discuss putting forward at the U.N. a Syria transition plan that China and Russia backed at talks in Geneva earlier this year.

Secretary Clinton said, "That will only be effective if it includes consequences for non-compliance. There is no point passing a resolution with no teeth because we've seen time and time again that President Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people."

UN resolution a 'no-go'

Russia and China have three times vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have sanctioned President Assad if he failed to agree to a cease-fire, the release of political prisoners, and a political transition.

Lavrov says the United States has a tendency to threaten and isolate countries that it is having issues with instead of engaging them. He says that is an approach to Syria that Russia fundamentally opposes.

The foreign minister says unilateral U.S. sanctions against Syria appear more and more extra-territorial and have a direct impact on Russian business interests, especially banks. He says Moscow has made clear that this approach is not acceptable.

Unable to convince Russian leaders to change their minds on Syria, Secretary Clinton says she will continue to try to make progress ahead of the U.N. General Assembly later this month.

"But we have to be realistic. We haven't seen eye-to-eye with Russia on Syria. That may continue. And if it does continue, then we will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls," says Clinton.

The United States is part of that so-called "Friends of Syria" group but has so far limited its involvement to non-lethal assistance. Other members of the group are helping arm Syrian rebels.

A senior U.S. official says Secretary Clinton told Foreign Minister Lavrov that the Security Council risks "abrogating its responsibility" if it fails to act to stop the violence.

Russia cricial of US actions

Lavrov says the United States can not talk about "international unity" on Syria when it is Washington that is acting on its own.

The foreign minister says the United States decided to act by itself without Russia. Now, a year and and half later, when those unilateral sanctions are not working, Washington is trying to blame Russia and China for blocking sanctions and resisting the international community.

Lavrov says "you need to think first from the very beginning here and not try to portray this unity as the demand for everybody else to join something that somebody decided single-handedly without any discussions."

There have been discussions about the Syrian conflict. Russia and China backed the appointment of a joint U.N. - Arab League mediator but both oppose more direct involvement.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs