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Clinton to press Russia, sees 'rough' road on Syria

11 april 2012, 18:49
0
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. ©RIA NOVOSTI
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. ©RIA NOVOSTI
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she would tell Russia that the risk of civil war was rising in Syria, adding that she expected "rough" diplomacy ahead, AFP reports.

Clinton said she would raise the Syria crisis when she meets Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in talks among foreign ministers of the Group of Eight major economies starting in Washington on Wednesday.

"We will have another go at trying to persuade the Russians that the situation is deteriorating and the likelihood of regional conflict and civil war is increasing," she said at the US Naval Academy in response to a question.

"So I think there will be a very rough couple of days in trying to determine whether we go to the Security Council seeking action, knowing that Russia is still not on board, but continuing to require them to have to either veto or abstain," she said.

"We're not going to give up. We're going to keep pushing for both humanitarian and strategic reasons," she said.

Russia's "refusal to join with us in some kind of constructive action is keeping Assad in power, well-armed, able to ignore the demands of his own people, of his region and the world," she said.

Russia is the main supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has launched a military crackdown to crush a year-long uprising.

More than 9,000 people have been killed since the revolt erupted in March 2011, according to UN figures.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in Moscow on Tuesday that his government has been withdrawing forces in line with a plan negotiated by former UN chief Kofi Annan, but Western countries are skeptical of Assad's promises.

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