PARIS- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lambasted Russia and China on Friday for blocking efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking at the Friends of Syria conference in Paris, Clinton called on Russia and China to "get off the sidelines" and accused them of "standing up for" al-Assad's regime.
Clinton also urged the other 60 or so nations represented at the summit to "make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price" for that support.
"I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and not only ask but demand that they get off the sidelines," she said. "I don't think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing with (the) Assad regime."
But it was unclear whether those two nations will reverse their longstanding opposition to forcing al-Assad from power. The two trade partners of Syria have vetoed previous efforts by the U.N. Security Council to condemn the violence in Syria and oust al-Assad. Neither Russia nor China was represented at the Paris meeting.
In Paris, Secretary of State 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 President al-Assad regime.
Clinton also clearly recognizes the divided
opposition as a problem in finding a solution to the crisis, and she hinted at
the theme in Paris on Friday, urging all parties to get fully up to speed on
the latest proposals and demands on the Syrian regime from international
"It would be very helpful to get everyone
on the same page if we're going to get everyone together about what we need to
get done, and what we need to do going forward," said Clinton.
Western and Arab nations started the Friends of Syria initiative because both
countries posed diplomatic obstacles in tackling the Syrian crisis. The United
States and others hope this meeting of the group could lead to stricter
economic sanctions and more support for the opposition.