QUESTION: (Inaudible.) First, now that the Russians have vetoed the resolution on Syria, what’s the next step? The Syrians are calling for a coalition of support. What do you say to that? And then, of course, on Bulgaria, why is it so important that a country like Bulgaria be economically and politically independent from Russia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, do you want me to go first, Prime Minister? Let me start with Syria. Let me begin by saying that Bulgaria, as you just heard the prime minister express, has been very supportive of the aspirations and rights of the Syrian people, and we are grateful for that.
What happened yesterday at the United Nations was a travesty. Those countries that refuse to support the Arab League plan bear full responsibly for protecting the brutal regime in Damascus. And it is tragic that after all the work that the Security Council did, they had a 13-2 vote.
The 13 of us voting in favor of the Arab League plan were primed to start a process for political engagement that will lead to a transition. We fear that the failure to do so will actually increase the chances for a brutal civil war. Many Syrians, under attack from their own government, are moving to defend themselves, which is to be expected.
So what do we do? Well, faced with a neutered Security Council, we have to redouble our efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people’s right to have a better future. We have to increase diplomatic pressure on the Assad regime and work to convince those people around President Assad that he must go, and that there has to be a recognition of that and a new start to try to form a government that will represent all of the people of Syria.
We will work to seek regional and national sanctions against Syria and strengthen the ones we have. They will be implemented to the fullest to dry up the sources of funding and the arms shipments that are keeping the regime’s war machine going. We will work to expose those who are still are funding the regime and sending them weapons that are used against defenseless Syrians, including women and children. And we will work with the friends of a democratic Syria around the world to support the opposition’s peaceful political plans for change. We will work to provide what humanitarian relief we are able to do so.
And over the coming days, I will be consulting closely with our allies and partners in Europe, in the Arab League, and around the world. Because remember, in those 13 votes you had not only Europeans, but you have Arabs, Africans, Latin Americans, South Asians. This was a unified international community seeking an end to the violence. So we will consult – be consulting with the foreign minister here and others – about what we can do to rescue this deteriorating situation before it’s too late.