News / USA

White House Underscores Displeasure with China, Russia Votes on Syria

The White House is underscoring U.S. displeasure with China and Russia for blocking a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria, saying it is important to continue increasing pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As the United States works with international partners to step up pressure on President Assad, including a new plan for a "Friends of Syria" group, the White House continues to voice displeasure with China and Russia.

Watch a related video by Scott Stearns

After the veto of the Security Council resolution on Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the United States was "disgusted" by the votes, which she said prevented members from addressing the "ever-deepening crisis in Syria and a growing threat to regional peace and security."

At Tuesday's White House news briefing, press secretary Jay Carney was asked if Mr. Obama would use the same word.  The sentiments Rice expressed, he said, reflect "great disappointment" with China and Russia.

"The sentiments the ambassador was expressing reflect our great disappointment with that position taken.  We will continue obviously to have these discussions with all of our partners internationally, at the U.N. Security Council and elsewhere, and we will continue to work with others, other "Friends of Syria" to put the pressure that is required on the Assad regime," he said.

Against the background of continuing violence in Syria, Carney was also asked about remarks on Capitol Hill by Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Speaking with reporters, Lieberman said he believes the international community needs to take "bold" action, including providing weapons to the Free Syrian Army.

"One of the things I hope the international contact group will do is to begin to give aid to the Syrian Free Army, the opposition to Assad's army.  It can begin with medical assistance, with intelligence, with training.  And ultimately, I would not hesitate to give them lethal weapons, because Assad's army is using lethal weapons to kill the Syrian people, so the defenders of the Syrian people need weapons, as well," he said.

Press secretary Carney said the U.S. is not considering arming the opposition "right now" and went on to discuss what is being talked about with the "Friends of Syria" group. "We are exploring the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians and we are working with our partners, again to ratchet up the pressure, ratchet up the isolation on Assad and his regime," he said.

President Obama's spokesman declined to go into detail about options under discussion beyond humanitarian aid.   

On the visit to Damascus by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Carney said Russia must realize that "betting everything on Assad is a recipe for failure."

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