By Jeremy Herb - 03/21/12 08:47 PM EDT
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Wednesday’s United Nations Security Council resolution backing U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to end the violence in Syria, urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to accept the terms.
The U.N. Security Council, which was stymied by earlier vetoes by China and Russia on resolutions condemning the violence, agreed Tuesday to Annan’s six-point plan, which demands a cease fire from the Syrian government and access for humanitarian aid.
Clinton said that Assad should “take this path, commit to it, or face increasing pressure and isolation.”
The Obama administration has pursued a diplomatic path in Syria after the initial U.N. Security Council resolution failed, resisting calls to arm the rebel forces seeking Assad's ouster or take military action in Syria.
The White House has criticized Russia and China for blocking the earlier Security Council resolutions, and has declared repeatedly that Assad will fall.
As the violence there has continued — the United Nations estimates 8,000 have been killed — calls for intervention have increased, particularly from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
McCain and a handful of senators have said the United States should lead an international coalition in airstrikes to take out Syrian air defenses and establish safe areas for opposition forces, similar to the campaign waged in Libya last year.
Others in Congress have cautioned against taking up arms with the rebels, out of concerns for a stronger Syrian army and divisions within and confusion over who is fighting in the opposition.
Clinton said the administration is coordinating with the United Naitons on providing humanitarian aid and working with the opposition to participate in the transition process that the Security Council endorsed.
“We think it is quite significant that we are now all united behind Kofi Annan’s mission,” she said.