US undecided on seeking new Syria UN vote, says gains Arab support

Kerry says White House is carefully listening "to all our friends"; meets with number of Arab foreign ministers in Lithuania.

By REUTERS
September 8, 2013 17:24
1 minute read.
US Secretary of State John Kerry.

US Secretary of State John Kerry looking serious 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Poo)

PARIS - The United States said on Sunday it did not rule out returning to the UN Security Council to secure a Syria resolution once UN inspectors complete a report on a chemical weapons attack.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris after meeting key Arab foreign ministers, Secretary of State John Kerry said they were leaning towards supporting a G20 statement - already signed by 12 countries - that called for a strong international response following an Aug. 21 chemical attack in Syria.

Washington and Paris say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad were behind the attack in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, and that he should be deterred from using such weapons again.

Crisis in Syria - full JPost.com coverage

French President Francois Hollande, increasingly under pressure at home and among European partners to seek a UN mandate before any military intervention in Syria, on Saturday suggested he could seek a resolution at the UN Security Council despite previous Russian and Chinese vetoes.

"On President Hollande's comments with respect to the UN, the president (Obama), and all of us, are listening carefully to all of our friends," Kerry said. "No decision has been made by the president."

The meeting with Arab ministers, including from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, followed talks in Lithuania with European foreign ministers, who blamed the attack in Syria on Assad but refused to endorse military action.

"All of us agreed - not one dissenter - that Assad's deplorable use of chemical weapons, which we know killed hundreds of innocent people... this crosses an international, global red line," Kerry said alongside his Qatari counterpart Khaled al-Attiya.


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