The United States has called on the international community to continue to close off the Bashar-al-Assad regime's economic lifelines, expand the circle of countries vigorously implementing sanctions, and prevent the Syrian government from evading them.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is on the last leg of her European tour, issued a statement on Wednesday after the Friends of the Syrian People Sanctions Working Group met in Washington.
Clinton said recent events, including the killings at Houla, have exposed the Assad regime's determination to continue war on the Syrian people. "The international community cannot sit idly by, and we won't -- today's Friends of the Syrian People sessions are increasing the pressure on the regime and deepening its isolation," she added.
According to her, sanctions are having an impact: businesses and organizations are cutting their ties with the regime, senior officials responsible for human rights violations have had their funds frozen and their travel curtailed, and "we are disrupting the ability of the regime to receive weapons and other supplies."
She made it clear that these sanctions were specifically pointed at members of the regime and its war machine; not targeting the Syrian people and did not apply to supplies of critical goods. "It is the regime that is causing Syrians to suffer from economic hardship, to deprive them of fuel, cooking oil, and other essentials."
Clinton said Washington welcomed other countries' views on additional measures that would be effective. She repeated the call on the Assad regime to end the atrocities, comply with all its commitments under the Annan plan, and allow the transition to a democratic Syria to begin.
At a joint news conference with her Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Baku on Wednesday, Clinton said she would see U.N.-Arab league Special Envoy Kofi Annan in Washington on Friday "to discuss next steps, including our shared efforts to encourage Russia and China to use their influence to end the bloodshed and work with the international community in promoting a transition."
"Until I've had those meetings and heard the opinions of those most directly involved, I won't prejudge whether we will hold a conference and who would be invited to the conference." Clinton told reporters. It's a little hard to imagine inviting a country that is stage-managing the Assad regime's assault on its people, she added.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com