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Russia, China Must ‘Pay Price’ For Assad Support – Clinton

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Russia and China should be told that they will pay a price for support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Paris meeting on Syria on Friday.

Russia and China should be told that they will pay a price for support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Paris meeting on Syria on Friday.

"I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge, but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," Clinton told a Friends of Syria meeting attended by over 100 countries.

"I don't think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime,” Clinton went on, as cited by French media. “The only way that will change is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price, because they are holding up progress."

Russia and China, which were not represented at the meeting, have has twice vetoed United Nations resolutions against Syria. Moscow said the resolutions betrayed a pro-rebel bias and would do nothing to stop the violence that has claimed over 10,000 lives since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

And President Vladimir Putin has also made it clear that the Kremlin will not sanction UN military intervention to stop what Western powers say is the brutal suppression of the revolt.

But Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month that Russia had no special interest in seeing Assad remain in power. He also said that continuing weapons deliveries to Syria were of an “exclusively” defensive nature.

Russia and China have both backed UN envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan for Syria, which went into force in April, but has failed to stop the killings.

The UN estimated in May that around 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization with a network of activists in Syria, has since revised the toll to around 16,500.

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution later on Friday condemning the Syrian authorities for what it said were violations of human rights during the conflict. The resolution was approved by 41 members of the council, with Russia, China and Cuba voting against.

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