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US and Russia discuss Syria U.N. resolution

Anti-Syrian regime protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to support the Syrians who protest against Bashar Assad's reg

Source : Reuters
Friday | 18 Jun 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, trying to break a deadlock over a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Russia and China dislike the idea of any U.N. Security Council judgment on Syria and have played little role in discussions on a draft resolution to condemn Syrian bloodshed against protesters.

Syrian forces shot and killed 19 people on Friday when they fired on protesters demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, activists said. The three-month uprising was inspired by revolts in other Arab countries.

Clinton also attempted to ratchet up the pressure on Assad in an op-ed she wrote for Asharq Al-Awsat, an international newspaper based in London.

Citing the violent government crackdown in Syria, Clinton wrote: "It is increasingly clear that President Assad has made his choice. But while continued brutality may allow him to delay the change that is underway in Syria, it will not reverse it."

Clinton accused Syria's president of "embracing the repressive tactics of his ally Iran" and wrote that "Syria is headed toward a new political order" that she said should be shaped by the Syrian people.

The United States is not sponsoring the U.N. resolution but has made clear it supports the European draft in condemning the Syrian crackdown. The resolution would not impose sanctions.

Clinton's discussion with Lavrov on Syria focused on the activity in the U.N. Security Council "and how the U.S. and Russia can work together to make sure that we can get to a U.N. Security Council resolution," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"She expressed her hope that the U.S. and Russia can work together," she said.

Nuland would not characterize whether the conversation had resulted in any movement on the issue. "It was a good conversation," she said.

Clinton has not made a similar call to her counterpart from China, Nuland said.

The goal is to have all five permanent members on board and the largest number of affirmative votes, a senior administration official said. So consultations continue "to make sure that we can have the broadest-based support of the Security Council, the type of resolution that would send a strong message to President Assad," he said.


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