Assad regime responsible for Syrian chemical attack says UK foreign secretary William Hague w/Video

The Guardian – Aug 23, 2013


Photo: Victims of chemical/gas attack outside of Damascus Aug 21, 2013

Chance of Damascus killings being opposition conspiracy ‘vanishingly small’ says William Hague Foreign Secretary of the UK




http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/aug/23/william-hague-syria-gas-attacks-video

Britain has said it believes forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad were responsible for a chemical weapons attacks in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, saying the Syrian government had “something to hide”.

“I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria,” said the foreign secretary, William Hague, on Friday. “I think the chances of that are vanishingly small and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime.”

Syria’s government has offered no public response to United Nations calls for its team to inspect the site of the attack, in which opponents of Assad said from 500 to more than 1,000 people died.

Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a “big event of grave concern” in an interview with CNN on Friday but said he would not rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war. He brushed over an interviewer’s reminder that he once called the use of chemical weapons a “red line” for US action on Syria.

Washington is split over how to respond to the latest attack. Military leaders such as John Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, have urged caution for fear of becoming further embroiled in a Middle East conflict when it is unclear whether the rebels would back US interests.

Moscow on Friday joined calls for an independent investigation by UN experts. The Russian statement said Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, discussed the situation by telephone on Thursday and concluded that they had a “mutual interest” in calling for the UN investigation.

The statement said Russia had called for Assad’s embattled government to co-operate with an investigation, but questions remained about the willingness of the opposition, “which must secure safe access of the mission to the location of the incident”.

Russia has been one of Assad’s key allies in the international arena. Moscow has asserted that the attack was “a homemade rocket loaded with an unidentified chemical agent” and was probably a provocation by opposition forces intended to implicate the Syrian president.

Earlier, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, renewed his call for Syria to allow UN inspectors immediate access to the site of the alleged attack.

“I can think of no good reason why any party – either government or opposition forces – would decline this opportunity to get to the truth of the matter,” he told a diplomatic forum in Seoul.

The White House described the death toll as appalling and the US held a flurry of diplomatic talks on Thursday to discuss possible action against the Syrian government.

Though it stressed it had still not yet seen conclusive proof of chemical weapon use, the US state department revealed that Kerry had held seven calls with his foreign counterparts on Thursday, and had taken part in a national security council meeting at the White House.

Read entire article here

Posted by Teri Perticone

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