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`Geneva could be turning point for Syrian crisis`

The White House on Friday reiterated that the US would continue to financially "squeeze" the Syrian regime.

Washington: Ahead of the Geneva conference on Syria, the White House on Friday hoped that the meeting could be a turning point to work out a political transition plan and reiterated that the US would continue to financially "squeeze" the Syrian regime.

"I would say that the June 30 meeting in Geneva could be an opportunity to press forward with Syria`s political transition, should all partners work together on this goal in good faith and with the interest of a better future for Syria in mind," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

The US, he said, is working closely with the Syrian opposition to ensure that a transition would guarantee fundamental rights including those of minorities. This is a critical element of any transition and is a priority to the United States, he asserted.

"In the meantime, we continue to squeeze the regime financially. US and international sanctions have had a significant effect on Assad`s reserves and are making it difficult for this regime to finance its brutality," he said.

Referring to a recent comment of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Carney said the US is hopeful that the Geneva meeting can be a turning point in the Syria crisis.

"The former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has shown solid leadership on this effort, and has developed his own concrete roadmap for political transition. This meeting and Annan`s roadmap provide a very real foundation for effecting transition in Syria," he said.

Responding to a question on the co-operation from Russia, Carney said that the US is working with Russia in this regard.

"I think that the point I made about all partners needing to work together on this goal in good faith and with the interest of a better future for Syria in mind speaks to that.”

“And we`ve obviously had our differences with Russia on Syria, and we`ve been very clear about them, both with you and with the Russians. And the nature of the relationship we have with Russia is that we can continue to work together despite our differences on issues of common agreement," he said.

"The fact is the Russians themselves have said that they believe there needs to be a political process in Syria. We believe that there needs to be a transition that, by definition, cannot include Assad because he has long since given up any credibility he might have with the Syrian people by his decision to murder them and assault them," he said.

"But we are continuing to talk with all our partners, including the Russians, in an effort to try to bring about an international consensus that would lead to the kind of transition that the Syrian people desperately desire and deserve," Carney said.


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