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Clinton: Russia actions may contribute to Syria civil war

Secretary of State slams Russia as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warns of 'catastrophic civil war.'

clinton russia pushing syria toward civil war may 31 2012Enlarge
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference at the Danish Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen on May 2012. At a Copenhagen forum, Clinton said Russian actions are helping push Syria toward civil war. (Keld Navntoft/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Russian actions are helping push Syria toward civil war, wrote the BBC.

"They are vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence. I reject that. I think they are propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition," Clinton said at a Copenhagen forum, according to Bloomberg

"[The Russians] are telling me they don't want to see a civil war. I have been telling them their policy is going to help to contribute to a civil war," the BBC quoted Clinton as saying. 

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Following the Houla massacre last weekend, in which over 100 men, women, and children were killed, Russia modified its otherwise steadfast defense of the Syrian government.

Even Iran, Syria's staunchest ally, issued an "unusually harsh criticism" of the massacre. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would not say who he thought was responsible for the killings, according to the Associated Press, but did not exclude the Syrian government from suspicion.

"It seems unbelievable to me that a government would engage in killing its own people .... (but) I’m not excluding anyone from this responsibility,” Ahmadinejad said. “We (in Iran) are quite disappointed about this."

A Reuters analysis suggested that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "appeared to move a degree towards Western and Arab League positions in acknowledging Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad bears overall responsibility for security" after the Houla massacre.

But hopes that this shift might result in a new diplomatic track were dashed when Russia and China later reiterated their opposition to further Security Council action.

More from GlobalPost: Syria at a 'tipping point'

Russia said yesterday it is "categorically against" intervention in Syria, the BBC reported. Russia Today said that not only will Russia veto any Security Council resolution calling for military intervention, but that it also opposes convening the body to discuss Syria.

Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, said Western countries may consider outside action if action in the United Nations continues to be impossible.

United Nations Secretary General said Thursday that additional massacres could push Syria toward a "catastrophic civil war," Agence France Presse reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120531/clinton-russia-actions-may-contribute-syria-civil-war