US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged China and India to step up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by imposing energy sanctions while calling on Russia to cease selling arms to his regime.
AFP - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged China, Russia and India to step up pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to curtail his government's brutal crackdown on protests.
In an interview with CBS News, Clinton suggested that China and India impose energy sanctions on Syria while she urged Russia to stop selling arms to Damascus, which has bought arms from Moscow for decades.
"What we really need to do to put the pressure on Assad is to sanction the oil and gas industry. And we want to see Europe take more steps in that direction," Clinton said.
"And we want China to take steps with us. We want to see India, because India and China have large energy investments inside of Syria. We want to see Russia cease selling arms to the Assad regime," the top US diplomat said.
Clinton's spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters earlier that she did not know when Russia last made an arms delivery to Syria.
But when asked if Washington had asked Russia to stop arms sales, Nuland replied: "We have repeatedly, yes, and over many, many years and more than one administration."
Clinton meanwhile welcomed the fact that China and Russia, after refusing to condemn Syria, backed a UN Security Council statement last week denouncing the regime's crackdown.
Clinton said the United States is also trying to encourage a divided opposition to become more unified, as minority groups who might be ready to oppose Assad end up supporting him for fear of what might succeed his regime.
"There are many communities, minority communities within Syria who are frankly saying the devil we know is better than the devil we don't," Clinton told CBS.
"So part of what we've been doing is to encourage the opposition to adopt a kind of unified agenda rooted in democratic change," she said.
"So if you're a Christian, if you're a Kurd, if you're a Druze, if you're an Alawite, if you're a Sunni, inside Syria there'll be a place for you in the future."
Date created : 2011-08-12