A UN resolution with no teeth would be pointless in the struggle to end
the conflict in Syria, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on
Sunday, as she wrapped up an Asia tour.
Clinton said she had made
the case for increasing pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad in
talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov, but had come away pessimistic about the chances of closing the
gap before the UN General Assembly this month.
"If we can make
progress in New York in the run-up to the UN General Assembly, we can
certainly try," Clinton told reporters in Vladivostok, where she
attended a Pacific Rim summit hosted by the Russian leader.
we have to be realistic. We haven't seen eye-to-eye on Syria. That may
continue. And if it does continue then we will work with like-minded
states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad
On her 11-day Asia trip, Clinton sought to push for more
forceful international steps on Syria, greater unity over Iran's nuclear
program and a multilateral mechanism for China to deal with maritime
territorial disputes with its Southeast Asian neighbors.
appeared to gain little traction with either the Chinese and Russian
leadership, both of which restated their firm opposition to what they
see as US meddling.
"Our US partners prefer measures like
threats, increased pressure and new sanctions against both Syria and
Iran. We do not agree with this in principle," Russia's Lavrov told
reporters after his talks with Clinton on Saturday.
declined to give details of his brief talks with Clinton but said that
although they had been had been constructive and useful, they had
yielded no agreements.
said she would continue to work with Lavrov to see if the UN Security
Council could formally endorse an agreement brokered by former UN Syria
envoy Kofi Annan which envisages a transitional governing authority for
But she added that such a step would only be effective if
it carried specific penalties if Assad fails to comply - something
Russia has repeatedly resisted.
"There's no point passing a
resolution with no teeth because we've seen time and time again that
Assad will ignore it and keep attacking his own people," Clinton said.
the agreement Russia wants the Security Council to endorse was reached
in late June, it left open the question of what part Assad might play in
a Syrian political process. Russia says his exit must not be a
precondition forced from outside.