Geithner warns Syria that economic actions will be authorized

"Absent meaningful compliance by the regime with the Annan plan, that is the direction in which we are soon headed," he told representatives of the more than 55 countries in attendance. 

A Chapter 7 resolution also includes the authorization of the use of military force, if deemed necessary by the United Nations Security Council.

The Obama administration has, so far, downplayed the need for use of force and, instead, is putting its weight behind economic sanctions that "can help hasten the day the Assad regime relinquishes power," Geithner said.

"Strong sanctions, effectively implemented, aggressively enforced, can help deprive the Syrian regime of the resources it needs to sustain itself and to continue its repression of the Syrian people," Geithner said. 

"Strong sanctions make clear to the Syrian business community and other supporters of the regime that their future is bleak so long as the Assad regime remains in power," he said. 

As long as Assad remains in power there is a greater likelihood of not only further bloodshed but also increased risk to a fragile region important to the world, Geithner said. 

He said the international community must band together to stop the Assad regime from accessing the global financial system, purchasing or transporting Syrian oil, selling arms to the regime or allowing unauthorized funds to flow to the Central Bank of Syria, the Commercial Bank of Syria or any other financial institution that acts on behalf of the regime.

"Our collective financial sanctions are not intended to target the people of Syria," Geithner said. 

"The greatest threat to the well-being of the Syrian people is the regime in power there today," he said. 

"And the longer this regime remains in power, the more the Syrian people will suffer."

Updated at 9:25 a.m.