News / Middle East

Clinton to Push Tougher Syria Policy at UN

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads next week to the United Nations General Assembly, trying to rally international support for tougher action against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. She is facing stiff opposition from China and Russia.

World powers are divided over how to stop the violence in Syria - with Russia, China, and Iran supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - and the Gulf Arab states, Britain, France, and the United States backing his opponents.

At the Washington-based Cato Institute, analyst Malou Innocent said the longer the fight continues, the deeper those divisions run.

“The Western allies, and those who are supporting [the rebels] - the Qataris and the Saudis - certainly have an interest in seeing Assad go. But those allies of Assad have even more of a reason, a more intensified interest in seeing Assad stay,” said Innocent.

China and Russia have vetoed tougher U.N. action, saying that is interference in Syria's internal affairs.

"We support a period of political transition in Syria. But it should come from the Syrian people. It should not be imposed from outside," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says a political transition without the threat of consequences is useless.

"There's no point to passing a resolution with no teeth, because we've seen time and time again that Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people," said Clinton.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Obama administration acted alone on Syria and can not now blame others for finding sanctions unacceptable.

"These supporters of sanctions try to blame Russia and China for resisting some unity of the international community. But you can not portray this unity as the demand for everybody else to join something that somebody decided single-handedly," said Lavrov.

Innocent said Russia and China do not want the sort of military intervention that helped topple Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“They don't want to see another NATO- or U.N.-imposed no-fly zone turn into a means of regime change,” said Innocent.

In the run-up to the U.N. General Assembly, Clinton made no progress with Russian President Vladimir Putin or with Chinese President Hu Jintao. So she said she is realistic about New York.

"We haven't seen eye to eye with Russia on Syria," said Clinton. "That may continue, and if it does continue, we will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day Assad falls and to help prepare Syria for a democratic future."

Those opponents so far have failed to unite on a plan for a post-Assad Syria, with divisions between fighters and politicians.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs