U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday rejected a Russian-proposed U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Syria, stating that Moscow's proposal lacked the "teeth" required to persuade the Assad regime to stop attacking its own people.
Clinton made the U.S. position clear at a news conference held after talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in the Russian city of Vladivostok.
Incidentally, Russia wants U.S. backing for securing UNSC approval for a Moscow-proposed resolution on Syria demanding the implementation of a peace plan agreed in June in the Swiss city of Geneva. That plan calls for a ceasefire and peaceful political transition in Syria.
Clinton said she had informed Lavrov that any U.N. action on Syria would "only be effective if it includes consequences for noncompliance." She also noted that "there's no point 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."
"With respect to Syria, I made the international community's case again yesterday to both the Foreign Minister and the President that we have to bring more pressure to bear on the Assad regime to end the bloodshed and begin a political democratic transition," she said.
Nevertheless, the top U.S. diplomat expressed willingness "to work with Foreign Minister Lavrov to see if we can revisit the idea of putting the Syria transition plan that we agreed to in Geneva earlier this summer into a Security Council resolution."
Acknowledging the differences between Washington and Moscow on the Syrian issue, Clinton admitted that the United States and its allies "haven't seen eye-to-eye with Russia on Syria," and noted that Washington's differences with Russia on the Syrian issue "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, and to help prepare Syria for a democratic future and help it get back on its feet again," she added.
Notably, Russia and China had used their veto powers at the UNSC in July to block a West-backed resolution that would have threatened the Syrian regime with sanctions if it failed to implement an earlier agreed peace plan. It was the third time in nine months that the two nations vetoed resolutions on Syria.
The latest development comes amid preparations by Lakhdar Brahimi, the new U.N.-Arab League special envoy on Syrian crisis, to visit the violence-torn Middle East nation next week. The trip would mark the beginning of Brahimi's efforts aimed at initiating a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that would ensure respect for the legitimate aspiration of Syrians, and enable them democratically to determine their future.
Brahimi took over as the new envoy to the Levantine state from former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who declined to continue on the expiry of his mandate on August 1 because of increasing militarization of the Syrian conflict as well as the lack of unity among the UNSC in resolving the crisis.
Currently, fierce fighting is raging in that Arab country between government forces and armed rebels opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, are believed to have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the protests broke out in March 2011. The conflict is now viewed as a civil war by most of the international community, threatening to spill over to neighboring nations and is increasingly becoming sectarian in nature.
by RTT Staff Writer
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