Mitchell Reports | April 02, 2012
>> the u.s. has taken a big step toward supporting syria 's rebel groups blurring the lines over what can be considered nonlethal aid. this at a weekend summit in istanbul, secretary of state hillary clinton acknowledges that the u.s. is providing critical communications equipment to the rebel forces. i sat down with her in istanbul last night to talk about the crisis in syria and the challenged posed by iran .
>> you have said that there will be serious consequences if assad does not stop killing his people, that this is the moment of truth . that the time for excuses is over. but short of military intervention, what is going to stop this man?
>> well, andrea, i see it as a progression that is too slow and it's very painful to watch the terrible killing continue by the assad regime. but out of this meeting today, we have agreed on not only more sanctions, but a means of enforcing them. we now have a sanctions committee. that was quite an accomplishment because this group consists of a lot of countries that are really the mainstays of the syrian economy. we have more humanitarian aid going in. we have an accountability project under way to catalog all of the atrocities that have been done. and we are increasing the various forms of assistance for the syrian opposition. in addition, wes are supporting kofi annan 's process but we want it to have a timeline because we don't want to give assad the excuse of being able to negotiate with no end.
>> isn't he playing kofi annan for time? he says he's accepting the cease-fire and more killings take place.
>> we are worried about that but we know kofi annan will be reporting to the security council tomorrow. i want to hear firsthand from him. but we do want to support him by making it clear that he does have a timeline that has to be respected.
>> what about saudi arabia and the others who are calling for lethal aid for weapons to the rebels and also now creating multimillion dollar fund which we are told by conference participants will be an inducement? they will give the money to the rebel soldiers as an inducement to try to get more defections from assad 's army. is that going to work?
>> i think it's a significant step by a number of nations that are trying to support the opposition in one of the numerous ways that we are all helping. we're looking at technical assistance , communications assistance. i met with a group of the syrian national council can opposition, including a young woman who just got out of homs and told us in wrenching terms what it was like being under bombardment by the assad regime. and she made it clear, communication is a shuj problem. we are going to be working to provide that and we know that that will be able to get into syria , which will permit better communications inside syria and between syria and supporters outside.
>> madame secretary, iran . you seem very skeptical that they are serious about diplomacy as these talks are going to resume in two weeks. do you really think that they are serious, or are they also playing for time and secretly working on their suspected weapons program while these negotiations then drag on?
>> well, that's what we're going to find out. we did welcome their outreach to return to the p5 plus 1 negotiations.
>> the group of western allies .
>> that's right. the group of the five permanent members of the security council including the european union and germany, but also including china and russia. and in this arena, china and russia have been quite productive. they, too, already quite concerned about iran continuing a nuclear program and acquiring nuclear weapons . i think president obama 's policy zillions absolutely clear. it's prevention, not containment. we're going to do everything we can, but we want to pursue a diplomatic resolution. i think that's the sensible approach to take.