US warns of action on Syria outside UN authority

US warns of action on Syria outside UN authority

US warns of action on Syria outside UN authority

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice warns of action outside of the Annan plan and the authority of the UN Security Council on Syria if the violence continues. AFP photo

A U.S. official has warned that U.N. Security Council members may have to act alone to end the violence in Syria if the crisis worsens and the Council remains divided, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said international support, including from Russia, would be needed for any military action in Syria.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s remarks marked a rhetorical escalation after a massacre in Houla last week blamed on a militia loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Rice said on May 30 if the violence continued to worsen, “then members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they’re prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council.”

Military action needs Russia’s support: Clinton
Clinton, however, said yesterday that military intervention would need international support, including from Russia. She said the absence of UN support for action in Syria, due mainly to Russia’s opposition, “makes it harder” to respond to the crisis, as the international community did last year in Libya. “We have to bring the Russians on board because the dangers we face are terrible,” said Clinton, who is in Denmark on the first leg of a Scandinavian tour. 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 contribute to a civil war,” she also told audience. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain said “it’s time to act; it’s time to give the Syrian opposition the weapons in order to defend themselves.” “It is also embarrassing that the United States of America refuses to show leadership and come to the aid of the Syrian people,” McCain told reporters. After the massacre in Houla where more than 100 people were killed, the Obama administration added new sanctions on a Syrian bank on May 30. U.S. President Barack Obama on May 30 discussed the need for an end to violence in Syria in a video conference with leaders of France, Germany and Italy. The summit agreed on the need for a “political transition” in Syria. Armed rebels have given the Damascus regime until noon today to stick to Annan’s peace plan, warning they themselves will quit the truce unless the ultimatum is met.

Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters stopries by the Daily News staff.