Feb. 5 - U.S. Secretary of State Clinton calls veto by Russia and China of U.N. resolution on Syria a ''travesty'' as Syria's Assad attends mosque service. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Bulgaria. Clinton's visit to Sofia comes a day after Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria -- a move she calls a travesty. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYING: "What happened yesterday at the U.N. was a travesty. Those countries that refused to support the Arab League plan bear full responsibility for protecting the brutal regime in Damascus. And it is tragic that after all the work that the Security Council did, we had a 13-2 vote. There were 13 of us voting in favor of Arab League plan. We are trying to start a process for political engagement that will lead to a transition. We fear that the failure to do so would actually increase the chances for a brutal civil war." She vows to step up diplomatic pressure. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYING: "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 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." In Damascus, Syrian State Television airs footage of President Bashar al-Assad joining others at a mosque to celebrate the Prophet Mohammed's birthday. Next week the Russian Foreign Minister is due in the Syrian Capital for talks with Assad. At the UN, Russia complained that the draft resolution was an improper and biased attempt at "regime change." Syria is Moscow's sole major Middle East ally, an important buyer of Russian arms and host to a Russian naval base. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters