Hillary Clinton threatens the US and “like-minded states” might pursue regime change in Syria in circumvention of the UN if the new resolution on Syria is “toothless”. Russia’s Foreign Minister believes the conflict is still solvable diplomatically.
Having conducted talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that the Russian position is steadfast: foreign intervention in Syria is intolerable.
"We have to be realistic. We haven't seen eye-to-eye… that may continue," Clinton revealed on Sunday.
Since the Russian and American positions on Syria do not converge, "then we will work with like-minded states to support a Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls and to help prepare Syria for a democratic future and help it get back on its feet," she declared.
There is no point to passing a new UN resolution on Syria “with no teeth”, she said, “because we've seen time and time again that Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people," Clinton told reporters.
"As I underscored yesterday with Foreign Minister Lavrov, that will only be effective if it includes consequences for non-compliance," she added.
Russia together with China has vetoed three consecutive Western-drafted UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, claiming the resolutions were unbalanced.
Still, Clinton promised that she will continue to work with Lavrov “to see if we can revisit the idea of putting the Syrian transition plan that we agreed to in Geneva earlier this summer into a Security Council resolution.”
The disagreements on Syria between Moscow and Washington are not only limited to the UN resolutions. The foreign minister explained that Russia is firmly against bilateral sanctions the US and EU are imposing on Syria.
The sanctions have been toughened by the EU about 18 times, Lavrov said, while the US introduced unilateral sanctions without even consulting Russia. And after the failure of all these sanctions to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign, the EU and the US “start blaming Russia and China and other states for hindering the unity of the world community.”
“We won’t support sanctions [against Syria] because they lead to nothing. What Syria needs is all external players use their influence to put all Syrians behind the negotiation table,” Lavrov said.
Vladimir Putin, who also had a “15-20 minute talk” with Clinton, said the meeting was constructive, though “no special decisions and agreements were reached.” Still, “it has been a useful discourse,” he said.
Despite the odds, Russia’s foreign minister believes there is no hope lost to solve the Syrian conflict within diplomatic framework.
Sergey Lavrov shared that there will be more consultations in New York, a new session of the UN General Assembly and a special session on Syria in the UN Security Council on the level of foreign ministers, where Russia will be advocating that the Geneva communiqué be approved.
The special UN Security Council session on Syria is expected to take place in the second half of September.