Gulf Arab states say Russian chemical weapons proposal to Syria will not stop bloodshed

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa says collecting chemical weapons not a final solution.

By REUTERS
September 10, 2013 16:35
1 minute read.
Gulf Cooperation Council state leaders [file]

Gulf Cooperation Council state leaders in Saudi Arabia 311 R. (photo credit: Handout / Reuters)

Gulf Arab states said on Tuesday a Russian proposal calling for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to win a reprieve from US military strikes would not stop bloodshed in Syria.

"We've heard of the initiative ... It's all about chemical weapons but doesn't stop the spilling of the blood of the Syrian people," Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa told a news conference in Jeddah.

Bahrain holds the presidency of the Sunni Muslim-led Gulf Cooperation Council, a main backer of rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Its foreign minister said the GCC states were ready to deal with any threat against them based on their support for the rebels.

Gulf Arab states renewed their demands on Tuesday for the United Nations Security Council to take deterrent measures against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government over a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people.

The statement was the first from the Sunni Muslim-led Gulf Cooperation Council, a main backer of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, a member of the Alawite sect of Shi'ite Islam, since Russia unveiled a proposal to avoid military strikes by dismantling Syria's chemical weapons.

"The GCC condemns the ugly crime committed by the Syrian regime by using internationally banned chemical weapons, which resulted in the killing of hundreds of civilians," said Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa.

He was speaking at the start of a meeting of foreign ministers from the six countries, which also include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

"This requires the United Nations and the international community, represented by the security council, to shoulder its responsibility," he added.

He called for "appropriate deterrent measures against those who committed this crime".

The United States has accused Assad of responsibility for last month's attack on Damascus suburbs. He denies any links.

The Russian proposal, which Syria accepted, offers US President Barack Obama a way out of ordering strikes, days before votes in Congress seeking authorization to use force.


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