PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged world powers on Friday to show Russia and China they would pay a price for impeding progress toward a democratic transition in Syria.
“It is frankly not enough just to come to the Friends of the Syrian People (meeting) because I will tell you very frankly, 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,” Clinton said at a gathering of countries seeking to speed the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“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 - (and) that is no longer tolerable.”
Russia and China have in the past vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Assad, who has sought to crush a rebellion against his family’s 42-year rule.
In her comments, Clinton repeated the U.S. call for a Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the council to authorise actions ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military intervention.
U.S. officials have repeatedly said in the case of Syria they are talking about sanctions and not military intervention.
“We should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council that imposes real and immediate consequences for noncompliance, including sanctions under Chapter 7,” Clinton said. She also called for countries to better enforce existing bilateral sanctions on Syria.
“Let me also add that confronted with the regime’s noncompliance, it is difficult to imagine how the U.N. supervision mission can fulfil its responsibilities without a Chapter 7 enforcement mechanism,” she said. “It is clear unarmed observers cannot monitor a ceasefire that does not exist.”
Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Mark Heinrich