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Arab League holds Syrian gov't responsible for chemical attack

English.news.cn   2013-08-28 00:18:35            

CAIRO, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) on Tuesday said it held the Syrian administration "fully responsible" for the deadly chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, official news agency MENA reported.

"Those behind the chemical attack in Syria should face international justice," AL chief Nabil al-Arabi said in a statement issued after an extraordinary meeting of the pan-Arab group in Cairo.

In the statement, Arabi urged the UN Security Council to urgently take all required procedures to prevent using such fatal weapons, and said the perpetrators must face international trial.

The statement also stressed the necessity for launching an initiative of ceasefire in all the Syrian territories and adopting appropriate operation to supervise and provide suitable environment for a political solution.

Blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attacks, the Arab league urged the UN Security Council to act amid prospected Western strike.

The Syrian opposition said they expected a strike against Assad 's forces within days to punish the attacks, state-run Ahram website quoted sources as saying.

Using the chemical weapons is "a blatant defiance," and " disregard for the morals and humanitarian values and the international norms," the AL's statement added, accusing Assad of "genocide."

The Syrian opposition has accused the Syrian government of committing unprecedented "massacre" last Wednesday in Damascus countryside by using poisoned gas within the presence of the international supervisors.

The Syrian government strongly denied the accusation.

In the AL's statement, Egypt stressed the importance of continuing the work of the UN chemical investigation team to identify those responsible for using the chemical weapons and asked for holding the perpetrators accountable.

Iraq upholds that those responsible for the crime should face trial, but stressing the necessity for political solution. Algeria and Lebanon withheld their backing for the Arab League statement or parts of it.

During the meeting, Qatar, Jordan, Libya and Saudi Arabia agreed on the necessity to condemn the Syrian government for using chemical weapons and held it accountable for all the results of the "heinous crime," the statement added.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, in particular, said " firm and serious" action is needed against Damascus over a chemical weapon attack that killed hundreds of civilians.

Speaking in Brunei, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military was prepared to launch a strike against the Syrian regime over alleged chemical attacks once President Barack Obama gave the order.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem challenged the Western powers Tuesday to provide their evidence on the involvement of the Syrian troops in chemical arms use in Damascus' countryside.

"Syria will defend itself with all available means in case the U.S. decided to attack the country," he stressed.

"We have means to defend ourselves that would surprise the world and we must be confident in victory," he went on saying.

In Paris, French President Francois Hollande said his country was "ready to punish" those behind the alleged chemical attacks, adding France would 'increase military support' to the main Syrian opposition.

Britain, meanwhile, said its armed forces were drawing up contingency plans for action in Syria, but Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Britain was not seeking to topple Assad.

Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said the suspected chemical attack was a "crime against humanity" that "cannot go unpunished."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow would not get involved in any military conflict, and it has warned that intervention would have "catastrophic consequences" for the volatile Middle East.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi asserted Egypt refutes military intervention in Syria, stressing that "the political solution is the only way for ending the crisis."

"Egypt rejects military intervention in Syria, as we believe a political solution is the only way out for the crisis there," Fahmi said during a press conference on Tuesday, while expressing hopes that resolving the war-torn country's crisis will be reached during Geneva II conference.

The FM reiterated Egypt's support for the Syrian people in its revolution, while doesn't support Jihad "holy war" against Syrian regime.

"Egypt condemns the use of chemical weapons, not only in Syria, " said Fahmi noting such fatal weapons against civilians are strongly opposed.

Fahmi noted that the Security Council is the first and logic body to respond to such crimes during an international consensus.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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