Ambassador Rice’s Remarks at the Security Council Stakeout on the Veto of a UN Security Council Resolution on Syria
Ambassador Rice: Good evening. I hadn’t intended to get a head start on everyone else but since—this has been quite a sad day, most especially for the people of Syria, but also for this Security Council.
The people of Syria, who seek nothing more than the opportunity to achieve their universal human rights and to see their aspirations for freedom and liberty achieved, have been slapped in the face by several members of this Security Council today.
And as I said in the chamber, I think the people of Syria and the people of the region have had today the opportunity to determine who among us stand with the people of the region in their quest for a better future, and who will go to whatever lengths are necessary to defend dictators who are on the warpath.
I am happy to take a few questions.
Reporter: Ambassador Rice, is this a failure of the European policy in the Security Council? Because they practically emptied the resolution of teeth, or is this, have they been duped by Russia, and China, and the BRICs? Or has this exposed China, Russia, and the rest of the BRIC countries? You did say there was a ‘cheap ruse’ of reaction, basically, by the Russians. What do you expect next? Can you explain these three, four elements of what I just asked you from your point of view as the U.S.?
Ambassador Rice: Well first of all, the United States’ view has been, and remains, that this Council ought to pass a resolution that contains real sanctions and that is what we proudly co-sponsored in August, and what we think is still warranted. Now, I’m not going to sit here and Monday-morning quarterback, or Monday-evening quarterback, how this has unfolded. We supported this resolution because we thought it was a step, had it been passed, in the right direction.
But the fact that, after days, if not a couple of weeks, of strenuous effort on the part of the Europeans to achieve the consensus that ought to have been possible, that that effort of goodwill on their part was met with the response today, I think, says the most about the people who were unable to support this resolution and those who cast the veto.
Reporter: Thank you Madam Ambassador. Do you think that diplomacy has reached a dead-end regarding how the international community should deal in regard with the situation in Syria?
Ambassador Rice: No, I don’t think diplomacy or pressure has reached a dead-end. I mean, the fact of the matter is, despite the vote that we saw today in the Council, the majority of members supported the resolution. The majority of members would have supported a sanctions resolution. And the countries in the region are, every day, coalescing and raising their voices against what is transpiring in Syria. This is not, as some would like to pretend, a Western issue. We had countries all over the world supporting this resolution today, and we have countries throughout the region who’ve been very clear that the brutality of the Asad regime has to end and that the behavior of the regime is absolutely intolerable.
Reporter: Madam Ambassador, would you consider keeping on your reset diplomacy strategy with Russia considering the result it gives you, at least at the Security Council?
Ambassador Rice: Well, I’m not sure it “gives us,” but let us say, given the result—look, we have many, many issues on which we work very constructively with Russia—from non-proliferation to arms control to Iran to North Korea, and many, many others—and will continue to do so. On this issue, we and others had a fundamental disagreement with Russia and other countries. And we think history will bear out who was on the right side and who was on the wrong side. But they are a country able to make their sovereign choices and we are able to make ours, and we can still work together and cooperate on a vast range of issues.
Reporter: Yeah, sure, Ambassador Rice, in the chamber you said, this is not about Libya, it’s about countries that want to sell weapons to Syria. And I guess what I wonder is, is the countries, say the IBSA countries, countries like Brazil and others, do you think that what happened on Libya, that a resolution was passed, and then NATO bombed—from the point of view of those countries, things went further than they authorized—do you really think it had no impact on this? Or do you think all of those countries are selling weapons?
Ambassador Rice: I think this is an excuse. I think the vast majority of countries, even today on the Council that were not able to vote in favor of this text, know that this was a resolution that, in substance, was unobjectionable. And their decisions to vote as they did may have had a lot less to do with the text than it did with some effort to maintain solidarity among a certain group of countries. So I think Libya has been beat to death, overused, and misused as an excuse for countries not to take up their responsibilities with respect to Syria.
Reporter: Just a quick follow-up, Ambassador, because—a good follow up—because, you know, the language you used in describing the Russian behavior today, you know, “Cheap ruse”—this is strong language. But then you’re saying here we’re going to go on business as usual and…
Ambassador Rice: I didn’t say business as usual. I said we are two countries with different interests that disagree on this issue.
Reporter: Take it from here on, in regards to Syria.
Ambassador Rice: Well, first of all, the United States has been very strong and unequivocal in its leadership, on a national basis and on a global basis, in condemning and sanctioning the Asad regime. And we are going to continue, as I said in the Council, to maintain our efforts and maintain pressure on the Asad regime.
It is on the wrong side of history. It is not going to get what it seeks by the continual repression and killing and imprisoning of its people. It doesn’t work and it won’t succeed, and sooner or later that will be self-evident.
(Remarks as delivered)
Madame President, the United States is outraged that this Council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security.
Several members have sought for weeks to weaken and strip bare any text that would have defended the lives of innocent civilians from Asad’s brutality. Today, two members have vetoed a vastly watered-down text that doesn’t even mention sanctions.
Let me be clear: the United States believes it is past time that this Council assume its responsibilities and impose tough, targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the Asad regime, as we have done domestically.
Yet today, the courageous people of Syria can now clearly see who on this Council supports their yearning for liberty and universal human rights—and who does not. And during this season of change, the people of the Middle East can now see clearly which nations have chosen to ignore their calls for democracy and instead prop up desperate, cruel dictators. Those who oppose this resolution and give cover to a brutal regime will have to answer to the Syrian people—and, indeed, to people across the region who are pursuing the same universal aspirations.
The record is clear. For more than six months, the Asad regime has deliberately unleashed violence, torture, and persecution against peaceful protesters, human rights defenders, and their families. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has already warned that the Syrian government’s appalling actions might amount to crimes against humanity. The Asad regime’s crimes have won a chorus of condemnation from the region, including the Gulf Cooperation Council, which demanded an immediate end to what it called Asad’s “killing machine.” But this Council has not yet passed even a hortatory resolution to counter the Asad regime’s brutal oppression.
The arguments against strong Council action grow weaker and weaker by the day. Some on this Council argue that the Asad regime’s abuses are not that egregious, or that the regime deserves more time for its so-called reforms. But as the UN’s own reporting makes clear, the Syrian government’s efforts to mask its continued atrocities are as transparent as its promises of reform are empty. Others claim that strong Security Council action on Syria would merely be a pretext for military intervention.
Let there be no doubt: this is not about military intervention. This is not about Libya. That is a cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.
This is about whether this Council, during a time of sweeping change in the Middle East, will stand with peaceful protestors crying out for freedom—or with a regime of thugs with guns that tramples human dignity and human rights. As matters now stand, this Council will not even mandate the dispatch of human rights monitors to Syria—a grave failure that may doom the prospects for peaceful protest in the face of a regime that knows no limits.
In August, we clearly condemned the violence and made clear that the Syrian regime’s repression is utterly unacceptable. Several of us on this Council and many throughout the international community have voiced our condemnation and imposed sanctions on the Asad regime. Regional organizations such as the League of Arab States, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have urged the Syrian government to stop the bloodshed. But the Syrian government’s reply has been an increase in the violence and repression. And some Council members have chosen to look the other way. We urge the governments that failed to support Council action to change course and heed the voices of the Syrian people. The Asad regime flatly refuses to meet its international obligations, including those laid out in this Council’s August 3 Presidential Statement, and the international community must bring real consequences to bear.
In failing to adopt the draft resolution before us, this Council has squandered an opportunity to shoulder its responsibilities to the Syrian people. We deeply regret that some members of the Council have prevented us from taking a principled stand against the Syrian regime’s brutal oppression of its people. But the suffering citizens of Syria are watching today, and so is the entire Middle East. The crisis in Syria will stay before the Security Council, and we will not rest until this Council rises to meet its responsibilities.
Thank you, Madame President.
In response to the concerns raised by my Belarusian colleague in connection with the specific sanctions decisions my government announced over the summer, the United States has consistently maintained a clear and consistent policy in our relationship with Belarus. Enhanced respect for democracy and human rights are central to improving bilateral relations. We, along with many others, had hoped that the December 2010 presidential elections in Belarus would meet international standards.
Unfortunately, as ODIHR noted in its report, the elections failed to meet international standards. Immediately following the flawed elections, the Government of Belarus conducted a large-scale crackdown that included arrests, trials and prison sentences for individuals who participated in peaceful post-election protests. Both the United States and the European Union consider those arrested to be political prisoners.
I would also cite the report of the OSCE Rapporteur on Belarus, who independently found that the events since the December elections indicate the “seriousness, duration and scale of gross and systematic human rights violations… Beneath some legal niceties, there is neither independent justice, nor rule of law in Belarus.”
Those events led to the imposition in January of U.S. and European Union travel restrictions, asset freezes and sanctions against Belarusian officials and entities. The continuing crackdown and incarceration of political prisoners led the United States to impose additional sanctions in August as my Belarusian colleague has pointed out.
U.S. policy remains firm today: we reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. On December 1st in Astana, the Government of Belarus acknowledged that enhanced respect for democracy and human rights are essential to the progress of the country and its citizens.
My Belarusian colleague made reference to a number of international instruments including the Helsinki Final Act and its relationship to the exercise of sovereign rights of states. I remind all of us here that our leaders in Astana “categorically and irrevocably reaffirmed” that the Human Dimension commitments “are of direct and legitimate concern of all participating States and do not belong to the internal affairs to the State concerned.”
We urge the Government of Belarus to end its self-imposed isolation and uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, and I apologize for the delay, but we had a long agenda, as I always do when I meet with my colleague. I want to welcome the foreign minister once again to the State Department. And this has been a very productive and wide-ranging discussion.
Before I begin about the matters that we were discussing, I want once again to offer our deepest sympathies on behalf of the American people to our friends in Norway, especially the families of those who lost loved ones. In the days since those terrible events, the whole world has once again witnessed the resilience and dignity of the Norwegian people as they have comforted the bereaved, healed the wounded, and pulled together on behalf of a nation whose values we so greatly admire.
Once again, we see Norway setting an example for the world as a strong, generous, far-sighted member of the international community. But that is not a surprise because we see it on a regular basis. As food shortages, for example, threaten millions of lives in the Horn of Africa, we see Norway’s global leadership in development assistance and disaster relief. Norway has already contributed nearly $50 million in this crisis. In fact, every year Norway dedicates a full 1 percent of its GDP to promote sustainable development around the world, and that is a remarkably generous amount.
Norway’s commitment to this work is rooted in the understanding that it is not just the right thing to do, but as I said in my speech yesterday, it is the smart thing as well because of the direct impact that development has on global stability, security, and opportunity. This is an insight we should remember here in Washington as we have our own discussions about how best to allocate our budgetary resources. And today, the foreign minister and I discussed development priorities, and in particular the situation in the Horn of Africa.
Norway is rightly respected as a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, and I thanked the foreign minister in particular for Norway’s strong support of the people of Afghanistan, its commitment to achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, its contributions to the NATO mission to protect civilians in Libya. And we discussed the importance of supporting the Libyan people as they plan for a post-Qadhafi reconstruction and stabilization period.
In addition, we discussed Syria, where we both remain acutely concerned about the Asad regime’s campaign of violence against their own citizens. Norway and our other European allies have been strong, consistent voices on behalf of the Syrian people, and I commend them for their advocacy. The Asad regime’s continued brutality is galvanizing international opinion. There has been a crescendo of condemnation not only from the world but in particular from the region.
After the Security Council statement, we’ve seen movement in rapid succession from the Arab League, the GCC, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others. The United States will continue to work with our partners to turn this growing consensus into increased pressure and isolation for the Asad regime. In particular, we urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Asad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history. President Asad has lost the legitimacy to lead, and it is clear that Syria would be better off without him.
Yesterday, the United States imposed new sanctions and Ambassador Ford delivered a clear message to the Syrian Government: Immediately stop the violence, withdraw your security forces, respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for a democratic transition in concrete and meaningful ways. Now, it is something that we are watching closely and we are consulting closely with partners around the world, and we expect to see action.
So whether it’s promoting sustainable development or standing up for universal rights in the face of political violence, the United States and Norway are working together on so many important issues. And I thank the foreign minister for his partnership and his friendship and this visit, and I look forward to our continuing work together.
FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Let me say on behalf of all Norwegians that the messages of comfort we have received from the President and the Vice President, yourself, on behalf of the American people and from American friends all over the United States, has been heartening. I can tell you as a foreign minister, I have seen it as my task to transmit these warm words to the families, and I have been going from funeral to funeral to follow young teenagers who ended their lives because they went to a political summer camp. So this is a very dramatic moment when Norwegians are coming together, and we feel that the support we get, which is heartfelt, is strong and important. So I thank you for that.
You gave an excellent summary of our discussions. I’d just like to say how much I appreciate these regular opportunities we have to compare notes. It happens almost monthly when we meet somewhere out traveling, but I appreciate these opportunities here at the State Department to do a systematic rundown.
We met in Greenland last time for the Arctic foreign minister meeting, illustrating that that is a new part of the world where we need good political stewardship to manage resources, look after the environment, and keep security and low tension. And we are succeeding in that. I think it’s an area where we will see a lot more attention in the future. It’s a priority in our foreign policy because it’s close to us as Norway in the north.
But as you said, we also have a partnership with the U.S. on a number of other issues and agendas, and the strength of that partnership is that open dialogue and the trust that you also have been showing as Secretary, and I thank you for that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Jonas.
MS. NULAND: Okay. We have time for two questions from the American side and two questions from the Norwegian side today. The first question to Arshad Mohammed from Reuters.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, yesterday in your interview with CBS, you said that what really needs to be done to bring pressure to bear on Syria is to sanction its oil and gas industry. What progress, if any, are you making in persuading European nations or India or China to curtail their significant investments in the oil and gas industry, and what countries in particular are still buying their oil and gas that you’d like to see them stop?
And then also on Syria, you talked about – it seemed as if yesterday you really are not leaning toward explicitly calling for Asad to go. It’s as if you want there to be a greater consensus among your allies to do that. What is the sort of hesitation on that? Are some of your partners like Turkey urging you not to do this, to give Asad a little more time, despite the acceleration of violence in the last week, ten days? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, I think it is fair to say that we have been engaging in intensive outreach and international diplomacy with many countries in the region and beyond to encourage and persuade them to speak out, number one, and then to join us in taking action, number two.
You’re aware that it took an intense effort to get the presidential statement, which we did finally see issued just about two weeks ago. And that statement was the first international statement that really captured what has become a growing consensus about Asad’s brutality and his refusal to follow up on any of the reforms that he has claimed to be supporting. Then, as I said, we saw in quick succession the Arab League, which reversed its position, the Gulf Coordinating Council, which made a very strong statement led by an important and welcome statement from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
So we are watching the growing crescendo of condemnation that I referenced, and I don’t think you should assume anything other than we’re trying and succeeding at putting together an international effort so that there will not be any temptation on the part of anyone inside the Asad regime to claim that it’s only the United States or maybe it’s only the West. Indeed, it’s the entire world.
And we’re making the case to our international partners to intensify the financial and political pressure to get the Syrian Government to cease its brutality against its own citizens and to make way for positive change. At the same time, we and others are reaching out to members of the opposition inside and outside of Syria to encourage them to create a unified vision of what an inclusive, participatory, democratic system in Syria could look like. So there’s a lot of work going on, and I think that that work is paying off.
QUESTION: Are you making progress on the oil and gas (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Stay tuned.
QUESTION: Have you –
MS. NULAND: Next question –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Stay tuned.
MS. NULAND: Next question on the Norwegian side to Anders Tvegard of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you for your ongoing and continued support after the terrorist attacks in Norway. Norway, your ally in the Middle East, will not add her voice to Syrian President Asad to step down at this moment because there are no clear alternative. How helpful is this in your ongoing diplomatic effort – the Norwegian position?
And if I may, in Afghanistan, U.S. is about to pull out a certain number of troops and Norway is concerned that the troop withdrawal will have an effect on the Norwegian forces on the ground. In what respect will Norway’s concern be taken into consideration when you decide from which areas to pull your troops? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will let Jonas address your first question because that is a matter for Norway to respond to.
On the second question, I can assure you there will be intensive consultations at all levels, bilaterally and through NATO ISAF, as the withdrawal occurs. We have been not only grateful for, but very impressed by the Norwegian presence in Norway, and we are well aware of the sacrifice and commitment that Norway has provided to the coalition efforts in Afghanistan, and there will be a very clear path forward that we will all travel together.
FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: If I may just on Syria say that I think we are part of that broad and emerging international voice sending clear message to the regime in Damascus. The Secretary and I attended the Human Rights Council in Geneva in early March when Libya was emerging as a real problem. And I think we both used – coined this version that a regime which is turning its army on its people is losing legitimacy to represent that people. That is, to me, a lead-up to expressing a clear view on that leadership. And I think we see a similar process in terms of sending a very strong, normative message, which is follow-up that presidential statements, a number of sanctions.
And I would in particular salute the regional organization’s clear message. We have been missing that, but it is starting to come from Syria’s neighbors and from Syria’s own organizations, and that is of great importance to – building that alliance is part of the work which is needed now.
MS. NULAND: Next question, Kirit Radia, ABC.
QUESTION: Hi. Good morning to you both. Question for the both of you, but particularly for the Secretary, if you don’t mind answering, on the Middle East peace process. Can you tell us how much progress has been made among the Quartet in developing the document that could provide some way forward in hopes of staving off the Palestinian vote at the United Nations in September?
And if I may ask, Madam Secretary, about reports that the talks with the Taliban have collapsed, what can you tell us about that? What – how serious were these efforts and how far did they get, and where do you go from here? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to Middle East peace, Jonas and I had a very good discussion of all the issues concerning the Middle East today. I applaud Norway’s continued leadership and commitment to the peace process and also its chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which has been the principal international support for a lot of the work that’s been done on the ground by the Palestinian Authority to improve the lives, the security, the well-being of the Palestinian people.
President Abbas has said on numerous occasions that substantive negotiations are his preferred course, and we take him at his word. That is why we’re working very hard with our Quartet partners to come up with a platform for the resumption of negotiations. And we’re doing so based on President Obama’s May remarks, which very clearly set out parameters for the two major issues that have to be addressed: on the one hand, territory, on the other hand, security.
We have continued to support strongly a two-state solution and the negotiations are absolutely imperative for us to reach that two-state solution. We believe that UN resolutions, no matter what they say, are no substitute for the difficult but necessary give and take that can occur only in a negotiating process. So we are going to oppose that approach and strongly support every effort to resume negotiations.
QUESTION: And on the Taliban talks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I have no comment on that.
FOREIGN MINISTER STOERE: Well, I – I’ll just like to rally my voice to the Secretary. When it comes to a two-state solution, that should come about through negotiations. Norway has been associated with Oslo, and Oslo was all about negotiating the painful way to that two-state solution so they could leave side by side in peace. One should not ignore the steps which have been taken on that road, but a lot still remains to be done. And we as an international community must do whatever we can to support that road.
That being said, we will have to wait and see what the Palestinians will present for September, and it is Norway’s view that we have to view their plans in detail when they are ready to come up with it. We support any initiative from the Quartet that may bring negotiations forward. It is not Norway’s view that it is illegitimate to turn to the UN to get an expression. That has been regular in the Middle East peace process since the creation of a state of Israel.
But no matter how many resolutions you pass, negotiations will be needed to solve the tricky issues. That I understand is also the view of the Palestinian president, who, in my – to my knowledge, has shown every readiness to engage in that negotiation. It takes two to make this, and we will have to work on both sides to make that difficult task possible.
MS. NULAND: And the last question is from Vegard Kvaale of the Dagbladet.
QUESTION: Thank you. Once again, Madam Secretary, thank you for your support after the terrorist attacks. I was just wondering, what do you think of the response from the Norwegian Government and Norwegian people to the attacks? And how has American authorities assisted Norwegian authorities after the attacks? And last, how should the international community deal with these kinds sort of homegrown terrorism threats in the future? Are there, for instance, any lessons that we can take from the Oklahoma bombings in ’95? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I deeply admire the resilience of the Norwegian people, and we saw it once again in the aftermath of this terrible terrorist attack of July 22nd. It is almost hard for me as a mother to imagine. And when Jonas told me about going to funerals, it was a terrible flashback to having gone to Oklahoma City following the attack there, going to funerals and events after 9/11, where it is a – just a terrible human tragedy that you are part of as a member of the human family, and particularly of countries like ours that really cherish our values of openness and believe strongly in the opportunity that exists for people of different backgrounds, different beliefs to live and work together, to compete in the arena of ideas.
And I think though hearts are certainly broken in Norway, the response that we have seen to hatred and to the viciousness of the terrorist’s message that was posted on the internet has been in keeping with the strength of the Norwegian people and the values that you exhibit around the world. And these values of tolerance and solidarity and democracy and openness are the very values that these young people were believing in because they had chosen to become involved in the political process of your country. And it’s a terrible loss for Norway, but it is a loss for all of us as we think about those young lives that were cut short.
So we stand with you now and always. We have offered our continuing support. Members of our law enforcement community have been in touch with counterparts in Norway. And where we’ve been asked to provide information, we’ve been more than willing to do so. We stand ready to offer any assistance that you may require.
This is a reminder that, in our democracies, we have to be balancing liberty and security all the time. That is not an easy balance. We made some changes after Oklahoma City, we made other changes after 9/11, but in our democracy we have to keep balancing those apparently contradictory values, but in my view, you cannot have one without the other. And so how do we define each in ways that maximize the potential for the people of our countries to realize their own dreams and aspirations. So we are looking to deepen our discussion about these challenges going forward.
Thank you all very much.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. You are in close coordination with all of the European Union countries, and I wonder how much confidence you have that the European nations are going to be able to create a soft landing for their debt crisis that doesn’t wreck the economy here in the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Scott, I think it’s very clear that the global economy has made us even more interdependent, and we’ve seen that in so many ways over the last three years. We are certainly supporting what the Europeans are trying to do. Our Treasury Secretary and other officials are in constant communication with their counterparts. Obviously, the President has spoken with his, and I’ve spoken with mine. And this is a very challenging economic time for many of us, but I believe that we’ll see actions taken that will provide the so-called soft landing that you’re talking about.
QUESTION: The stock market is terribly worried about Europe right now. I wonder what your confidence level is?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m confident that we’re going to weather this crisis, and not just our own country, because I think that we have very strong reasons to be confident, but I think also, our partners around the world, most particularly in Europe. That doesn’t mean we can be complacent, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to take care of itself. It requires concerted action by governments and by businesses in order to reclaim the lost ground and get growth going again, because ultimately, it is about jobs for people. It’s about people feeling that they have a stake in their own future.
And I think we do have to all pay more attention to how we’re going to create jobs in the so-called developed world that are going to be available for the vast majority of middle-income and lower-income men and women, who are being basically marginalized in the way the global economy is growing.
QUESTION: The Obama Administration has described Bashar al-Asad as illegitimate, and I wonder if it’s time for him to go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s going to be up to the Syrian people, but I can tell you that President Obama and I have been working very hard to marshal international opinion. When we started with our criticism of Asad, people, to be very frank, kind of said, “Well, yeah, the United States doesn’t get along with Syria, so that’s to be expected.” And we have spent an enormous amount of diplomatic time and effort creating what is a crescendo of condemnatory comments from an increasingly large chorus of international opinion.
And what is important is that the Syrian people know that the United States is on the side of a peaceful transition to democracy. We believe that they have the same right as people anywhere to choose their own leaders, to have the kind of democratic institutions that will maximize their individual opportunities. But we also took a long time convincing even our colleagues on the Security Council to issue a statement, which we finally got done about 10 days ago. And then in rapid succession, we’ve seen the Arab League, we’ve seen the King of Saudi Arabia, we’ve seen the Gulf Cooperating Council, we’ve seen a very strong stand by Turkey and certainly our European friends.
So we are building what I think is a much more persuasive case that the international community – not just the United States – wants to see peaceful change in Syria.
QUESTION: You’re talking about U.S. leadership. Why doesn’t the U.S. lead and take that one half step further and say that Asad’s time is done; he has to go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we’ve been very clear in what we have said about his loss of legitimacy. I think we were among the very first to say it. We’ve sent a very clear message that he should be doing what is necessary to end the violence against his own people. But it’s important that it’s not just the American voice, and we want to make sure that those voices are coming from around the world. And the Russians and the Chinese joined our presidential statement, after saying that they would never do anything to condemn the Asad regime.
We’ve issued more sanctions, tougher sanctions. We’re working with our European and other friends. But what we really need to do to put the pressure on Asad is to sanction the oil and gas industry, and we want to see Europe take more steps in that direction. And we want to see China take steps with us. We want to see India, because India and China have large energy investments inside of Syria. We want to see Russia cease selling arms to the Asad regime.
So I come from the school that we want results, not rhetoric. And what we have done for the last several months is – behind the scenes and in front of the cameras – to build the pressure on Asad and the people around him. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind where the United States stands. We’ve reached out to the opposition, we have been very proud of our ambassador, who has carried the message of our country and our values right into Hama, into the heart of the Syrian repression. So I think we have done what is actually going to pay off rather than just rhetorically calling for him to go.
QUESTION: Asad right at this moment seems to be pressing for the end – attacking his people, attacking his cities in a most vigorous way to put an end to it before the pressure you describe ousts him from power.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but I think the pressure requires an organized opposition, and there isn’t one, Scott. There is a lot of sort of beginning sprouts of such an opposition. There are local coordination councils around the country. There are very brave Syrians who are standing up and risking their lives, even losing their lives. There are Syrian opposition figures outside of Syria and inside. But there’s no address for the opposition. There is no place that any of us who wish to assist can go. So part of what we’ve been encouraging and trying to facilitate is for the opposition to become unified.
Syria has a lot of divisions, and one of the reasons why this has been challenging for those of us who have been watching from the outside is that there are many communities – minority communities within Syria – who are, frankly, saying the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t. And so they have continued in Damascus, in Aleppo, to support the Syrian regime not because they agree with what is being done, but because they’re worried about what could come next. So part of what we’ve been doing is to encourage the opposition to adopt the kind of unified agenda rooted in democratic change, inclusivity. So if you’re a Christian, if you’re a Kurd, if you’re a Druze, if you’re an Alawite, if you’re a Sunni, inside Syria there will be a place for you in the future.
So I know everybody gets very impatient. They’d like to see change yesterday. Well, we certainly think Syria deserves democracy, but we also know that you have to replace somebody with somebody else, and that somebody else is still in formation.
QUESTION: Last question before Somalia, but relating to something that you mentioned a moment ago: Is the United States going to sanction the oil and gas industries that are involved in Syria?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. We have very little stake in it, so it’s not – so again, we have such a small stake in what they produce and what they market. The real trick is to convince the Europeans and the Arabs and the Chinese and the Indians and others. Because again, I mean, we’re going to sanction, and we have been upping the sanctions. We’re going to continue to do so. But we want others to follow, because Syria was not one of our major economic partners. It wasn’t anybody that we had a particularly good relationship with before this all started, although we were open to improving the relationship if they showed that they were going to make changes. And obviously, that’s not in the cards right now.
QUESTION: You’re not going to say he has to go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are, I think, building the chorus of international condemnation. And rather than us saying it and nobody else following, we think it’s important to lead and have others follow as well.
QUESTION: What are your concerns about al-Shabaab in Somalia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have many concerns about al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab is a terrorist group. Al-Shabaab has been particularly brutal, even barbaric, to the people under their control, even before this famine has so devastated the Somali people. Al-Shabaab has imposed the worst kind of punishments for what they consider to be violations of their particularly perverted, distorted view of Islam. And so they have posed a threat to the United States and to our friends and neighbors. They were behind an attack in Kampala, Uganda because Uganda has been very important in our efforts to try to beat back al-Shabaab, and we’ve made progress, thanks to an organized African effort supported by the United States and others.
But what we’ve seen in recent weeks just beggars the imagination, Scott. I mean, it’s one thing to have a view of religion that is so brutal and totally at odds with anything that anyone else believes, but it’s something entirely different to prevent women and children from getting to a place where they could be saved, where the children could be fed, where women wouldn’t be watching their babies die in their arms. And we have seen no indication that al-Shabaab has a heart. This is Ramadan. If there were ever a time for a group that claims to be adhering to their own form of Islam – they apparently don’t know what Ramadan means, because they are doing nothing to assist the international community or even on their own to assist the people that they control.
And I’ve called on them and their leaders to show some mercy and some compassion. We can get back to squaring off against one another after we save the lives of women and children. So far, we’ve seen no evidence that they’re willing to do that.
QUESTION: Is the United States Government aiding the training of anti-Shabaab militias in Somalia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the United States Government helps to fund the AMISOM Mission, and the AMISOM Mission has made the difference between clawing back territory from al-Shabaab and losing all of Somalia to this terrorist group. So we have, for a long time, supported African troops under an African mission to work with the Transitional Federal Government that is in place in Mogadishu. And I have seen progress over the last two and a half years. I met with the head of the TFG in Kenya in August of 2009 and –
QUESTION: The Transitional Federal Government.
SECRETARY CLINTON: The Transitional Federal Government. Look, they have a long way to go. They are only learning on the job, so to speak, about how to govern. Somali-Americans have gone home to Mogadishu to try to help prevent this perversion that al-Shabaab practices from destroying their country.
But Somalia has been in turmoil and living with violence for a very long time now. We all remember, first, President George H. W. Bush and then President Clinton trying to help the Somali people in the early ’90s. And it was a very terrible incident with our soldiers being killed and mistreated. So the world, for a number of years, said, “Look, Somalia is just too violent, too complex. We cannot deal with it.” And at that time, there was a lot of – it was mostly an inter-clan conflict.
But what we’ve seen in the last several years is the rise of al-Shabaab, which proudly claims some affinity with al-Qaida, which tries to work with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. And so this then became a direct threat to us, not just a tragedy on the ground in Somalia, but a threat to not only the United States but the rest of the world.
QUESTION: In addition to the African Union forces, are we supporting or providing training or providing the money for training of other militias inside Somalia?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we’re doing what we can to support Uganda and others who are part of the AMISOM Mission to do what they need to do to help not only beat back al-Shabaab, but to help train an indigenous Somali force to stand on its own against al-Shabaab.
QUESTION: And training is integral to that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Of course it is. I mean, part of the challenge is making sure that people are trained to use equipment, to know how to engage in the kind of warfare to deal with the threat of suicide bombers. I mean, there’s a lot that has to be learned. It’s – it is certainly welcome that people would want to stand up and fight for their family and their country, but they need to be able to know how to do it.
QUESTION: When you see these pictures that are coming out of the famine emergency, what do you think?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. Well, it just breaks my heart because there is no doubt that some of this is the unfortunate consequence of weather patterns, of drought. But I would say most of it is because of bad policies and bad people, and that’s what really upsets me.
An act of God is an act of God. You deal with an earthquake, you deal with a tsunami. But there is so much more we could do to help in this, and we’ve tried to. We fund something called the Famine Early Warning System Network. It gave us an indication last year that a famine was on the way, and not just because of weather patterns but because of violence, because of conflict, because of inaccessible areas to be able to provide support. So we pre-position food. And we’ve worked with the Governments of Ethiopia and Kenya. We’ve certainly worked to support the UN and both American and international NGOs. But then you see these pictures and you know how many people are dying because they can’t get help where they are, because you have this terrorist group, al-Shabaab, that has no regard for the lives of the people in the areas they control.
QUESTION: How is the United States responding to the emergency?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we are responding very effectively in the face of a very large challenge. We’re by far the largest donor, over $550 million that we have put into trying to help save lives. We’re not only providing emergency foodstuffs – particularly what is needed when you’re terribly malnourished and you can’t eat whole food; you have to have nutritional supplements – but also we’re helping with water, we’re helping with sanitation and healthcare, we’re trying to vaccinate people so that there are not epidemics in the refugee camps. We’re supporting Kenya, which has been an extremely gracious host to hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have come over their border over the last years because of the fighting there. And we’re working with the Government of Ethiopia.
But at the same time, Scott – and I want to emphasize this because the American people are very generous and we do respond to tragedies and natural disasters – we have to change the trajectory here. And so what we did from the very beginning of this Administration was to say, look, we are the best at responding to food disasters. The United States is the major supporter of the World Food Program. We’re there with food. We set up this early warning system. We are great at responding to disasters.
But we’ve got to do more to change the underlying conditions. So we started a program called Feed the Future, which represents the best thinking in agricultural productivity, in nutritional supplementation, in marketing of food, everything that goes into what makes for greater self-sufficiency. And Ethiopia and Kenya are two of the countries we’ve been working with over the last two and a half years. What are policies that need to be changed at the governmental level that encourage more food production?
And the last time there was a famine in Ethiopia – I’m old enough to remember, the pictures were very similar to what you’re showing – it affected 12 million people. This year, this famine is affecting about 5 million in the area. Now, 5 million is still an unacceptably high number, but it’s a big improvement because we’ve worked with both farmers and pastoralists to try to help them do more to sustain themselves – drought-resistant seeds, for example, better irrigation techniques and the like. So it’s not just that we’re responding to the emergency, first and foremost. We’re also trying to change the underlying conditions.
QUESTION: Last question: You mentioned the United States has contributed more than half a billion dollars –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: — to this emergency in –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: — the Horn of Africa. Some reasonable people would say this is a terrible, terrible tragedy, but we can’t afford that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well –
QUESTION: And I wonder what you would say to them.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I would say look at these pictures. And the one thing that Americans are so well known for, not only through our government but through our religious faith-based institutions, through private charities, through individual giving, is our heart. No matter what anybody says about us anywhere in the world, people have to admit that when there’s trouble anywhere, Americans are there. We’re there to help, and we’re there to do the very best we can to try to alleviate suffering. That’s part of the DNA of the American character. We certainly can afford to do what is necessary now.
Obviously, we’re all having to tighten our belts in this tough budgetary climate, but I have the great honor of heading the State Department and USAID, our two civilian agencies that – we don’t carry weapons; we carry food and we negotiate treaties, we try to help governments get better. It’s an insurance policy both against tragedy happening, but it’s also our way of responding when the inevitable – because given human nature, we’re going to face these kinds of terrible calamities – that we show who we are as a people. And I would hate to think that our country would ever back off from that.
Today, the United States imposed additional, new economic sanctions against four major Belarusian state-owned enterprises: the Belshina tire factory; Grodno Azot, which manufactures fertilizer; Grodno Khimvolokno, a fiber manufacturer; and Naftan, a major oil refinery. These four entities have been determined to be owned or controlled by the Belneftekhim conglomerate, an entity already designated under Executive Order 13405. The intent to levy additional sanctions was announced by President Obama on May 27 to respond to the continued incarceration of political prisoners and crackdown on political activists, journalists and civil society representatives. The new sanctions augment the travel restrictions, asset freezes and sanctions announced on January 31. These measures target those responsible for the repression in Belarus following the December 19 presidential elections.
The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to monitor developments in Belarus and to take measures to hold accountable those responsible for the repression of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. These U.S. actions are not directed at the people of Belarus. An integral component of U.S. policy has been to increase support for the people of Belarus as they seek to build a modern, democratic and prosperous society. We reiterate our call on the Government of Belarus to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners.
The notification of these sanctions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is located at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20110811.aspx.
لقد ألهم الولايات المتحدة سعي الشعب السوري في سبيل التحول السلمي إلى الديمقراطية. فقد واجه بشجاعة الوحشية الضارية بأيدي حكومته. وقال كلمته من خلال مسيراته السلمية وإلحاقه العار الصامت بالنظام السوري، ومثابرته الشجاعة على مواجهة الوحشية – يوما بعد يوم وأسبوعا بعد أسبوع. وردت الحكومة بمواصلة الهجمات الضارية. وإنني أشجب بشدة هذه الوحشية، بما فيها الهجمات المشينة على المدنيين السوريين في مدن مثل حماة ودير الزور واعتقال زعماء المعارضة الذين حرموا من العدالة وأخضعوا للتعذيب على أيدي النظام. ولقد كشفت تلك الانتهاكات للحقوق العالمية للشعب السوري لسوريا والمنطقة والعالم عن ازدراء حكومة الأسد السافر لكرامة الشعب السوري.
إن الولايات المتحدة تعارض العنف ضد المحتجين المسالمين في سوريا، وإننا نؤيد الحقوق العالمية للشعب السوري. وقد فرضنا عقوبات على الرئيس الأسد وحكومته. كما فرض الاتحاد الأوروبي عقوبات أيضا. وساعدنا على قيادة جهد في مجلس الأمن الدولي لإدانة أعمال سوريا. ونسقنا بشكل وثيق مع الحلفاء والشركاء في المنطقة والعالم. وقد أصبحت حكومة الأسد الآن مدانة من بلدان في كل أرجاء العالم، ولم يعد لها من تتجه إليه طلبا لتأييد تدابيرها الوحشية المجحفة الصارمة سوى إيران.
إن مستقبل سوريا يجب أن يقرره شعبها، لكن الرئيس الأسد يقف في طريقه. وكانت دعواته إلى الحوار والإصلاح أصداء جوفاء فيما كان يسجن ويعذب ويقتل شعبه بالذات. ولقد قلنا باستمرار إنه يجب على الرئيس الأسد إما أن يقود التحول الديمقراطي أو أن يتنحى عن طريقه. وهو لم يقد. ولذا فقد آن الأوان، ومن أجل مصلحة سوريا، أن يتنحى الرئيس الأسد جانبا.
إن الولايات المتحدة لا يمكنها فرض هذا التحول على سوريا ولن تسعى إلى فرضه. الأمر متروك لأبناء الشعب السوري في اختيار قادتهم، ونحن سمعنا عن رغبتهم القوية في ألا يكون هناك تدخل أجنبي في حركتهم. إن ما ستدعمه الولايات المتحدة هو الجهد اللازم من أجل التوصل إلى سوريا ديمقراطية وعادلة وشاملة لجميع السوريين. إننا سوف ندعم هذه النتيجة من خلال الضغط على الرئيس الأسد لإفساح الطريق لهذا التحول، ومن خلال مساندة الحقوق العالمية للشعب السوري جنبا إلى جنب مع الآخرين في المجتمع الدولي.
وكجزء من هذا الجهد، تعلن حكومتي عن عقوبات غير مسبوقة لتعميق العزلة المالية لنظام الأسد وتعطيل قدرتها على تمويل حملة العنف ضد الشعب السوري. لقد وقّعت على أمر رئاسي تنفيذي جديد يتطلب التجميد الفوري لجميع الأصول التابعة لحكومة سوريا والتي تخضع للسلطة القانونية الأميركية، ويحظر على الأشخاص الأميركيين الانخراط في أية صفقة تشمل الحكومة السورية. كما يحظر هذا الأمر التنفيذي أيضا استيراد الولايات المتحدة النفط أو المنتجات النفطية ذات المنشأ السوري؛ ويمنع الأشخاص الأميركيين من القيام بأية تعاملات ذات صلة بقطاع النفط السوري أو المنتجات النفطية السورية؛ ويحظر على الأشخاص الأميركيين أيضا إدارة الأعمال أو الاستثمار في سوريا. نحن نتوقع أن يقوم الآخرون بتوسيع نطاق الإجراءات التي قررنا اليوم اتخاذها.
نحن ندرك أن الأمر سيستغرق وقتا ليقوم أبناء الشعب السوري بتحقيق العدالة التي يستحقونها. سيكون هناك المزيد من النضال والتضحية. فمن الواضح أن الرئيس الأسد يعتقد أنه يستطيع إسكات أصوات شعبه من خلال اللجوء إلى الأساليب القمعية التي كان يقوم بها في الماضي. لكنه مخطئ. فكما تعلمنا خلال هذه الشهور العديدة الماضية، فإنه في بعض الأحيان لن تكون الأمور في المستقبل مثلما كانت عليه في الماضي. لقد حان الوقت لأبناء الشعب السوري لتحديد مصيرهم، وسنواصل الوقوف إلى جانبهم بحزم وثبات.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime’s contempt for its own people. In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children.
The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.
This morning, President Obama called on Asad to step aside and announced the strongest set of sanctions to date targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions include the energy sector to increase pressure on the regime. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it’s time for Asad to get out of the way.
As President Obama said this morning, no outside power can or should impose on this transition. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders in a democratic system based on the rule of law and dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or gender.
We understand the strong desire of the Syrian people that no foreign country should intervene in their struggle, and we respect their wishes. At the same time, we will do our part to support their aspirations for a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive. And we will stand up for their universal rights and dignity by pressuring the regime and Asad personally to get out of the way of this transition.
All along, as we have worked to expand the circle of global condemnation, we have backed up our words with actions. As I’ve repeatedly said, it does take both words and actions to produce results. Since the unrest began, we have imposed strong financial sanctions on Asad and dozens of his cronies. We have sanctioned the Commercial Bank of Syria for supporting the regime’s illicit nuclear proliferation activities. And we have led multilateral efforts to isolate the regime, from keeping them off the Human Rights Council, to achieving a strong presidential statement of condemnation at the UN Security Council.
The steps that President Obama announced this morning will further tighten the circle of isolation around the regime. His executive order immediately freezes all assets of the Government of Syria that are subject to American jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in any transactions with the Government of Syria or investing in that country. These actions strike at the heart of the regime by banning American imports of Syrian petroleum and petroleum products and prohibiting Americans from dealing in these products.
And as we increase pressure on the Asad regime to disrupt its ability to finance its campaign of violence, we will take steps to mitigate any unintended effects of the sanctions on the Syrian people. We will also continue to work with the international community, because if the Syrian people are to achieve their goals, other nations will have to provide support and take actions as well.
In just the past two weeks, many of Syria’s own neighbors and partners in the region have joined the chorus of condemnation. We expect that they and other members of the international community will amplify the steps we are taking both through their words and their actions.
We are heartened that, later today, the UN Security Council will meet again to discuss this ongoing threat to international peace and stability. We are also working to schedule a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that will examine the regime’s widespread abuses. Earlier this week, I explained how the United States has been engaged in a relentless and systematic effort with the international community, pursuing a set of actions and statements that make crystal clear where we all stand, and generating broader and deeper pressure on the Asad regime.
The people of Syria deserve a government that respects their dignity, protects their rights, and lives up to their aspirations. Asad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves, and that is what we will continue to work to achieve.
Thank you all very much.
Presidential Memorandum–Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA) and in light of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-175) (SAA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order (the “order”) that takes additional steps with respect to the Government of Syria’s continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria and with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, and Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011.
In Executive Order 13338, the President found that the actions of the Government of Syria constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and declared a national emergency to deal with that threat. To address that threat and to implement the SAA, the President in Executive Order 13338 blocked the property of certain persons and imposed additional prohibitions on certain transactions with respect to Syria. In Executive Order 13572, I expanded the scope of that national emergency and imposed additional sanctions.
The order blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of Syria. The order also provides criteria for designations of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order; or
to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.
The order also prohibits the following:
new investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located;
the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;
the importation into the United States of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin;
any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin; and
any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by section 2 of the order if performed by a United States person or within the United States.
I have delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the order.
All agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the order.
I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.
Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to the Government of Syria’s continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria and with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, and Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011, hereby order:
(a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Syria are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
(b) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(ii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
Sec. 2. The following are prohibited:
(a) new investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located;
(b) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;
(c) the importation into the United States of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin;
(d) any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin; and
(e) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.
Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 5. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
(a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 7. Nothing in sections 1 or 2 of this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.
Sec. 8. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;
(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and
(d) the term “Government of Syria” means the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities.
Sec. 9. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 11. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 12. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on August 18, 2011.