Russia and China should be told that they will pay a price for their support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said at a meeting on Syria.
“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 Friday at a Friends of Syria meeting in Paris, attended by delegations from over 100 countries.
“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.
“The only way that will change this 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.”
Russia and China, which were not represented at the meeting, have twice vetoed UN resolutions against Syria. Moscow said the resolutions betrayed a pro-rebel bias and would do nothing to stop the violence that has claimed over 10,000 lives since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also made it clear that the Kremlin will not sanction UN military intervention to stop what Western powers term as brutal suppression of the revolt.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, however, said last month that Russia had no special interest in seeing Assad remain in power, and that continuing weapons deliveries to Syria were of an “exclusively” defensive nature.