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State Dept: UN Inaction on Syria Will Not Stop US

The United States says it will not let "diplomatic paralysis" at the U.N. keep it from responding to the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Diplomats from the five permanent members of the Security Council began talks Wednesday on a British-drafted resolution on possible military action.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States sees no avenue forward in Syria because of Russian opposition against any meaningful action.

She said the Syrian government cannot keep hiding behind the Russians. Harf said Washington will consult with its allies as it considers its own military strike against Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry Wednesday said U.N. action on Syria would be premature before chemical weapons inspectors in Damascus finish their work.



U.S. officials say there is no doubt the Syrian military dropped chemical weapons in the Damascus suburbs last week, killing hundreds of civilians.

Syria's U.N. ambassador Bashar Ja'afari again denied his government is responsible. He called such an attack a "moral outrage." He accused those he calls terrorists -- the government's word for the rebels -- of using chemical weapons against Syrian soldiers.

But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there is no evidence the Syrian opposition has the capability or even the desire to use chemical weapons. Hague said all the evidence points in one direction. He also accused the U.N. Security Council of failing to shoulder its responsibilities on Syria for the last two years.

OPTIONAL SOUNDBITES

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary:

"We believe that it is time the United Nations Security Council shouldered its responsibilities on Syria, which for the last two and a-half years it has failed to do."

Faisal Maqdad, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister :

"Armed terrorist groups used Sarin gas in all these sites, and we repeat that the terrorist groups are the ones who used them with American, British and French encouragement. This encouragement should stop.''

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