US concerns over Syria intervention

2012-05-31 19:58
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Denmark for talks about the Syrian crisis. (Saul Loeb, AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Denmark for talks about the Syrian crisis. (Saul Loeb, AP)

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Copenhagen - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday laid out the clearest case yet for why the Obama administration is reluctant to intervene militarily in Syria - especially without Russia agreeing to be part of a united Western front - even as it expresses revulsion over last week's massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla.

In Denmark on the first stop of a European tour, Clinton said Russia and China would have to agree before the US and other nations engage in what could become a protracted conflict in support of a disorganised rebel force. And she cited a host of other hurdles to successful military action.

"We're nowhere near putting together any type of coalition other than to alleviate the suffering," Clinton told reporters after meeting with top officials in Denmark, a key contributor to last year's Nato-led mission against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

"We are working very hard to focus the efforts of those, like Denmark and the United States, who are appalled by what is going on, to win over those who still support the regime, both inside and outside of Syria."

In remarks to Danish students, Clinton said every day of slaughter in Syria was strengthening the case for tougher international action.

But she stressed that such action, including military action, would require support from Syria's ally, Russia, and the rest of the world community.

Russia and China have twice vetoed UN Security Council sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Annan peace plan

Russia's continued support for Assad "is going to help contribute to a civil war", Clinton warned.

Clinton threw her support once again behind the UN mediation efforts, despite acknowledging that "thus far Assad has not implemented any of the six points that are part of Kofi Annan's plan".

She stressed that UN observers have nonetheless performed two important functions.

"In many of the areas where they are present, violence has gone down," Clinton said.

"And they serve as independent observers, the eyes of the world if you will, in reporting back when terrible events like the recent massacre occur.

They've tried to cut through the clutter and disinformation coming from the Syrian government."


- AP
Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  bashar al-assad  |  hillary clinton  |  syria  |  us  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
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