U.S. Says 14 More Nations Join Statement on Syria - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

U.S. Says 14 More Nations Join Statement on Syria

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The White House says 14 more nations have signed on to a statement blaming Syrian President Bashar Assad's government for a chemical weapons attack and calling for a strong international response.
 
That means the list has grown to 25 from the 11 -- including the U.S. -- who initially signed on. The statement was unveiled Friday at the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
 
Among the new nations announcing support are Germany, Denmark, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Honduras, Romania, Latvia, Albania and Lithuania are also listed.
 
The statement doesn't explicitly call for military action against Syria, as President Barack Obama is advocating. But administration officials say it's an implicit endorsement because the U.S. is publicly discussing a potential military strike.

Meanwhile, Syria's foreign minister says his country welcomes Russia's proposal for it to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes.
 
The statement from Walid al-Moallem came a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Syrian President Bashar Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of "every single bit" of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.
 
Hours after Kerry's statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would urge Syria to quickly put its chemical weapons under international control, then dismantle them.
 
Lavrov, who held talks with al-Moallem in Moscow earlier in the day, said he expected a quick positive answer from Damascus.
 
Al-Moallem, however, wouldn't give any further details in his brief statement and didn't take any questions.
 
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Syria to immediately agree to transfer chemical weapons and chemical precursors to a safe place within the country for international destruction.
 
Ban said Monday he will also propose to the Security Council that it unite and demand an immediate chemical weapons transfer should U.N. inspectors conclude that such weapons were used in an attack Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus.
 
He said he is also considering asking the council to demand accountability for an alleged chemical weapons attack.
 
Ban spoke shortly after Moscow's surprise announcement that it was pressing its ally Syria on a similar proposal -- to move its chemical weapons to areas under international control to avoid a U.S. military strike.
 
The White House is dismissing the comments from Syrian President Bashar Assad, in which he denies that his government was responsible for last month's chemical weapons attack. 
 
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says it's no surprise that someone who would kill hundreds of children with poison gas would also lie about it.
 
In the interview aired on CBS' "This Morning," Assad warned there will be retaliation against the U. S. for any military strike launched in response to a chemical weapons attack.
 
Asked by interviewer Charlie Rose to elaborate, Assad says, "You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government." He said the U.S. would "pay the price if you are not wise with dealing with terrorists."
 
President Barack Obama is seeking an authorization from Congress to punish Assad for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that the administration maintains Assad ordered. (AP)

Statement on Additional Countries in Support of September 6 Joint Statement on Syria

On September 6, the United States and 10 other countries issued a joint statement on Syria, condemning in the strongest terms the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons on August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus and calling for a strong international response. The statement explicitly supports the efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

Since the issuance of that statement, additional countries (marked by an asterisk) have signed on to the statement and publicly support its content. The countries now formally supporting this statement are:
 
Albania*
Australia
Canada
Croatia*
Denmark*
Estonia*
France
Germany*
Honduras*
Hungary*
Italy
Japan
Republic of Korea
Kosovo*
Latvia*
Lithuania*
Morocco*
Qatar*
Romania*
Saudi Arabia
Spain
Turkey
United Arab Emirates*
United Kingdom
United States

We welcome additional countries expressing their support for this statement and our continued efforts to hold the Assad regime accountable and enforce the international norm against the use of chemical weapons. The statement will continue to be updated and can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/syria.

Text of Joint Statement on Syria:

The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal.  The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere.  Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons.

We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children.  The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime. 

We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world's rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. Those who perpetrated these crimes must be held accountable.

Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council's responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognize that the Council remains paralyzed as it has been for two and a half years.  The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability.  We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. 

(From the White House)

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