U.S., Russia Still At Odds Over Syria
July 9, 2012 by Sam Rolley
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants United Nations member nations to put pressure on Russia and China to stop supporting Syrian leader Bashar Assad as a rebel uprising continues in his country.
Speaking to the leaders of about 60 Western and Arab countries collectively known as the “Friends of Syria” in Paris last Friday, Clinton criticized the two nations for using their veto power on the U.N. Security Council to block condemnations of Assad.
“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,” Clinton said. “It is frankly not enough just to come to the Friends of the Syrian People, 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.
“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.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said he did not agree with Clinton’s statement.
“We categorically reject that such a question would even be posed regarding the current situation in Syria and Russia’s ‘backing’ of President Bashar Assad. This is not a question of supporting certain political figures or leaders. This is a question of managing a crisis situation in the country within a normal political framework,” Ryabkov said, according to RT.
The United States has spent more than $57 million to support humanitarian organizations in Syria, and there has been talk of U.S. intelligence operatives arming rebels in the country. Meanwhile, Russia has been accused by the United States of sending weapons and ammunition to the Assad regime.