WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State on Wednesday called for more pressure on Syria in a bid to remove its embattled President Bashar al-Assad from power, as the meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on sanctions is underway in Washington.
"Today's Friends of the Syrian People sessions are increasing the pressure on the regime and deepening its isolation," Clinton, who is in Turkey for another meeting regarding the crisis in Syria, said in a statement issued here by the State Department.
Despite the "important steps" being taken, the chief U.S. diplomat said: "Much work remains."
"We must continue to close off the regime's economic lifelines, expand the circle of countries vigorously implementing sanctions, and prevent the Syrian government from evading them," she noted in the statement.
Welcoming other countries' views about additional sanctions that would be effective, Clinton urged Syria to comply with all its commitments under the peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan, and allow the political transition to begin.
The second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on sanctions is held here in Washington on Wednesday. The one-day event drew representatives from 55 nations.
In a prepared speech before the meeting, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for tougher sanctions against Syria to hasten political change in the Arab country.
Geithner, in his speech, even went as far as opening up the possibility, if necessary, of the Chapter 7 action in the U.N. Security Council, which authorize actions including the use of military force.
Responding to the reference of the "Chapter 7 action," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday that all options are on the table and the "need to take urgent action" is on the minds of policy-makers in the Obama administration and at the UN, although he did not specify on the potential actions.