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U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Rice on Syria: This is 'a conflict of a different character'


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said it’s unlikely the Syrian government “immediately wakes up and stops the killing” and follows the Kofi Annan-led U.N. peace negotiation. Calling it the most desirable outcome of continued negotiations with the government which is is violently battling with rebel forces, it’s also not the “most likely” scenario, Rice said while speaking with Andrea Mitchell on her show on msnbc Wednesday.

The worst case scenario would be an intensified round of violence that spreads in the region, said Rice, who had just left a U.N. Security Council session.

Next steps include working with the U.N. and the international community to exert additional pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s government, she said. “We think that’s another way to preserve the viability of the Annan plan,” Rice said.

Today, the U.S. added new sanctions against a Syrian bank.

Rice disputed criticism of the Annan peace plan, saying, “the alternative is the scenario I described of all-out violence.”


“If there’s a way to avoid that through a political process, that should be something we all work for and try to accomplish,” Rice said.

A Washington Post editorial called the Annan plan "one of the most costly diplomatic failures in U.N. history."

Noting that the U.S. believes “Iran is actively supporting its longtime-ally Assad and providing material and other support,” Rice called this “a conflict of a different character with much broader regional implications should it continue to spin out of control.”

She once again called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to sever its support to Syria during the conflict.

“We’d like to see them make a voluntary decision to stop providing military support…to the Syrian regime,” Rice said, adding that the U.S. continues to “pressure” Russia to help work toward a peaceful solution.

She called the U.S.-Russia relationship “much improved” in recent years despite this disagreement.


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