Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the UN March 12, 2012. (Getty, via BBC)Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to New York Monday as the United States, Europe and Arab states sought to break a stalemate at the UN Security Council on Syria.
Clinton was due to meet separately with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN Security Council discussion regarding the Arab spring. Russia, along with China, has so far blocked previous UN Security Council efforts to pass a resolution condemning the Bashar al-Assad regime for a year long crackdown that has killed over 7,500 people.
But there were few clear signs Monday that the major powers' geopolitical disagreements over Syria would be put aside to make way for the passage of a new UN Syria resolution on the crisis. And western diplomats were hesitant to act more aggressively to stem the violence without one.
"I think that while we are all frustrated, that this is not Libya," British ambassador to the United States Peter Westmacott told journalists at a press briefing in Washington Monday. "Syria's military defenses are strong, its army is highly trained."
Libya-style military intervention in Syria "would be difficult," Westmacott said, adding, "I do not think it is an option as long as the Security Council does not ask them to act."
Speaking at the UN Monday, Clinton urged fellow nations to "say with one voice - without hesitation or caveat - that the killing of innocent Syrians must stop and a political transition must begin," theBBC reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told the forum that the violence in Syria is a "grave concern," but that change in the Arab world "must not be achieved by misleading the international community or manipulating the Security Council,'" the BBC report said.
The high-level diplomatic discussions in New York come a day after the UN's recently appointed special envoy to Syria, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan left Syria after two days of talks in which the Assad regime did not agree to halt its crackdown.