Clinton, at Syria conference: 'time for excuses is over'
Secretary Clinton attended a Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul Sunday.
April 1st, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Clinton, at Syria conference: 'time for excuses is over'

From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty, in Istanbul

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad for what she charged is a string of broken promises and called for new steps to pressure the Assad regime, shore up the Syrian opposition and provide urgent humanitarian aid for the victims of the violent conflict.

"The world must judge Assad by what he does, not by what he says," Clinton told representatives in Istanbul attending the second Friends of Syria meeting, "and we cannot sit back and wait any longer."

The Obama administration last week slapped new sanctions on three more senior Assad regime officials and Clinton praised the Friends of Syria for its decision to form a sanctions working group to coordinate and expand sanctions and strengthen enforcement. "Together we must further isolate this regime, cut off its funds, and squeeze its ability to wage war on its own people," she said.

The Friends of Syria, which includes some 60 nations currently meeting in Istanbul, are creating a Sanctions Working Group, which senior State Department officials told reporters will coordinate sanctions against the Syrian regime and serve as a "clearing house of information on who is shipping arms, money to Assad to assist him in his killing, who is evading sanctions." The officials said the group will use the media and publicity to "name and shame" those who are helping Assad and his regime.

Clinton also said the U.S. is working with its partners to create a clearing house for data and evidence on violations of human rights abuses in the violence-torn country.

"Our message must be clear to those who give the orders and those who carry them out," she said. "Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences. Your countrymen will not forget, and neither will the international community."

A senior State Department official who briefed reporters on Clinton's plane as she flew to Istanbul from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Saturday night, said the new "Syria Accountability Initiative" will assist and train the Syrian people to collect, collate, analyze and securely store evidence, documentation and other information concerning human rights abuses and violations, while protecting witnesses and sources.

The information, the official said, could be used for a variety of justice and reconciliation purposes, including developing dossiers for trials of individuals responsible for violations of international or domestic criminal laws.

Another senior State Department official said the U.S. will help provide training for Syrian investigators, lawyers, human rights supporters and other non-governmental organizations to collect the data and will establish a secure storage facility, including a database, for the information.

The U.S. will provide an initial $1.25 million for the initiative and is asking other nations to provide additional funding.

On humanitarian assistance the Secretary of State said the U.S. already had pledged $10 million for makeshift field hospitals, training emergency medical staff and getting clean water, food, blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits to civilians and displaced people.

The aid, she said, is starting to get through, in spite of the Assad regime's efforts to deny access. In March the administration added another $2 million to its commitment, and Clinton Sunday announced more than $12 million for the Syrian people – for a total of nearly $25 million.

To support civil opposition groups the U.S. also is providing communications equipment that Clinton said "will help activists organize, evade attacks by the regime, and connect to the outside world."

Although U.S. officials, including Clinton, have expressed serious concern about the lack of unity among opposition groups, the opposition has adopted a "national pact," which senior State Department officials say is aimed at uniting the opposition around a "concept and vision... an idea" even if they are not uniting as a single group.

"We've seen here in Istanbul that disparate opposition factions can come together," Clinton said. "Despite the dangers they face, the next step is to take their case across Syria, to lead a national conversation about how to achieve the future Syrians want and deserve. That's how the opposition will demonstrate beyond any doubt that they hold the moral high ground, strip away Assad's remaining support, and expose the regime's hypocrisy."

The leading opposition group, the Syrian National Council, also is taking steps to be more transparent about itself, State Department officials say, and about what would be needed in order to bring other groups into the SNC.

At the Friends of Syria meeting Secretary Clinton is meeting with five members of the opposition: the Syrian National Council president Burhan Ghalioun; Basma Kadmani, who is on the executive board of the SNC; George Sabra, an orthodox Christian who recently left Syria via Jordan; Imad Din Al Rasheed, whom the official described as a "moderate Islamist"; and Medea Dagastani, a female member of the local council in Homs who recently left the city, which has been under attack by government forces.

The opposition, the official said, is making progress in uniting: "They're talking about elections, constitutional drafting. They're talking about the practical steps that you need to take to bring about a type of Syria that the Syrians are saying they want."

Although U.S. officials have said the Syrian opposition is far less united that the Libyan opposition was at this stage, another official briefing reporters said: "It's going to look a lot more like the transition plan that we saw at a certain stage in Libya."

The SNC is asking the international community for financial support as well and it is creating a "salary program" for the opposition Free Syrian Army funded by several Gulf States. Previewing that announcement conference participants said that soldiers who defect from the regime's army and join the FSA would receive a salary. The program, the official, said might attract soldiers who are suffering in a deteriorating Syrian economy.

The cost of the program is expected to be in the "millions" of dollars, conference participants said, one of them adding that this could, in fact, increase the rate of defections which, in turn, could "contribute to the demoralization of the regime."

Addressing the Friends of Syria meeting, Clinton called it a "moment of truth." Bashar al-Assad so far has refused to honor his pledge to implement a plan to resolve the crisis proposed by the U.N. and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan. "The time for excuses," she said, "is over."

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Tayna Tisa

    March 6, 2021 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  2. Wim Roffel

    The problem with Clinton is that she is not even making excuses for obstructing negotiations in Syria. The death toll there is to a considerable part to be blamed on her.

    She is now proposing all kinds of projects. They sound very nice. That is: until you realize that her only goal with them is to fuel the conflict.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • GypsyCatRider

      I know right, Hillary now get your tanks and murdering soldiers out of Syria now. Oh wait, those aren't hers? Facepalms. Careful we might have to send George Zimmerman over there to handle things!

      April 6, 2012 at 11:39 am | Reply
  3. Chris

    One step closer to destiny "mrs clinton" who or whatever you are. The "dread" knowing your life is preserved only to fulfill your role, then to the lava lake. How foolish to think you could battle the omniscient GOD

    April 2, 2012 at 3:49 am | Reply
    • jon

      Research israels aparteid policies.

      Investigate AIPAC contributions to politicians.

      Israel is the leading cause of anti-semtism.

      Don't support pro zionist politicians.

      Copy and paste. Change perspectives.

      April 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  4. Mr.Davidson

    This prostitute for the Zionist banking institution bloodsuckers who drain the US National treasury dry at every conflict in the middle East. Her and the simian like leader who cowers under the mere glance of AIPAC and transfer hundreds of billions out the back door of the US treasury for every contrived conflict stemming from the Israel Gaza situation.Braking the back of the working person and student and infrastructure of this nation at every self made conflict in Arab countries.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  5. debra galleahawk

    i want to know this burning question , who made her GOD to threaten the middle east ?
    dont you see its only going to get worse
    and now Obamma with all his two faced ideals is going to sink this ship and all of USA with it from his
    back stabbing ! He makes me SICK !

    April 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  6. debra galleahawk

    with all the money she has why not get a face implant ! geesh
    it turns my stomach 🙁

    April 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  7. debra galleahawk

    shes just adding more fuel to the fire as we speak
    someone needs to shut her yap permentally !

    April 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Reply


    April 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply

    we need men of strong hold, who can pull d bloody idiot-assad.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  10. David

    Stop supporting Israeli aggression.

    Research israels crimes against humanity.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  11. canadian

    getting tired of seening this dumb bitch all over the news

    April 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • mel

      Correct, they are trying to involve us in another war even though she syas "Freinds Of Syria" She needs to stay out of that. They (US Government ) allows for people to die here every day. Were not concerned abiout them, we can`t wait to satrt another war, this is why their upsey with Russia, and China, they won`t go along with the plan. We don`t care about slaughter there, anymore than we do about taking life here. Gte real Cliuton, and Obama

      April 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
    • GypsyCatRider

      If you are going to refer to someone as dumb perhaps you should check your spelling. Needless to say your comment is a waste of space. Seening must be a new Canadian word.

      April 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
    • debra galleahawk

      lol i second that one that last photo with her in blue was scary !

      April 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  12. Veritas

    Her being a hag wouldn’t be so objectionable if she were an effective hag. But she’s not. She’s just a hag.
    Who cares about Syria, Arabs killing Arabs? So long as they’re focused on each other they’re not meddling elsewhere. You cannot control the outcome, as you couldn’t in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, all places where you significantly enhanced pro Al Qaeda Salafists.
    Recall Obama’s inaugural address, where he proclaimed he’d extend an open hand if Iran would unclench their fist? Good plan, buddy. How’s that working out? You fall off the turnip truck last night? Oh, the community organizer bus. That’s worse. Instead of being merely uninformed and oblivious, you’re an America-hating ideologue.
    So in the face of staggering American weakness the apocalyptic Shiite theocracy marches ever closer to nuclear capacity. But at least the Obama voters are getting wealth redistributed to them.

    April 1, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • King of Men

      Keep on sucking that war-loving neo-con cock. And don't forget to toss that Zionist salad.

      April 1, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • fred

        oooooooo "toss that salad" ooooooooooo its obvious the kind of porn you like. stick to it as current affairs doesn't seem to be your "bag" ........ooooooooooooo zionists..........ooooooooooo muslims good, everyone else bad.....ooooooooooooo

        April 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • David

        Fred, you are clearly a fagatron, and should quiet your sqeeky voice.

        Cheers, bitch

        April 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • fred

      a dolt calling a real VIP a "hag"? how ironic and really dumb! try giving up your job as a security guard and paying more attention to your hag, i mean wife.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • lib from TN

      dude! who cares about arabs killing arabs? I do! I have to pay for that crap at the pump every week.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
      • David


        Take it from a Jew, keep your sheckels close if your walk with Israel.

        April 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

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