Clinton: "Friends of Syria" must unite to stop Russia, China "blockading" progress
(CBS/AP) PARIS - The United States and its international partners called Friday for global sanctions against Bashar Assad's regime, seeking to step up the pressure after the defection of a top general dealt a blow to the Syrian leader. Washington urged countries around the world to pressure Russia and China into forcing Assad to leave power.
In Paris, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined senior officials from about 100 other countries to win wider support for a Syrian transition plan unveiled last week by U.N. mediator Kofi Annan. Joined by America's allies, she called for "real and immediate consequences for non-compliance, including sanctions," against the Assad regime.
But with neither Moscow nor Beijing in attendance, much remained dependent on persuading the two reluctant U.N. veto-wielding powers to force Assad into abiding by a cease-fire and the transition strategy. Clinton urged governments around the world to direct their pressure toward Russia and China, as well.
"What can every nation and group represented here do?" Clinton asked. "I ask you to reach out to Russia and China, and to not only urge but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."
"I don't think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all — nothing at all — for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime," she added. "The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price. Because they are holding up progress, blockading it. That is no longer tolerable."