News / USA

Ban Ki-moon: Syria Action Needs UN Authorization

U.S. President Barack Obama (5th R) speaks at a meeting with bipartisan Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House while discussing a military response to Syria, September 3, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama (5th R) speaks at a meeting with bipartisan Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room at the White House while discussing a military response to Syria, September 3, 2013.
VOA News
The United Nations secretary-general says any confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would be an “outrageous war crime,” and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Ban Ki-moon urged the U.N. Security Council Tuesday to “unite and develop an appropriate response” if U.N. investigators confirm that chemical weapons were used.

“This is a larger issue than the conflict in Syria. This is about our collective responsibility to humankind,” he said.

However, Ban said, any use of force to punish those responsible for a chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 Syrians last month must have U.N. authorization to be legal.

Congressional leaders offer backing

Ban spoke as President Barack Obama and his top foreign-policy and defense officials were working to build domestic support for a U.S. military strike on the Syrian government.  The U.S. says Syrian President Bashar al Assad was behind the nerve-gas attack on August 21.

After a White House meeting Tuesday, top U.S. lawmakers from both parties said they will support a U.S. strike.

John Boehner, leader of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, says the United States has the capability to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Boehner, who frequently clashes with Obama, mostly on domestic issues, urged colleagues to do the same.

"We have enemies around the world that need to understand we are not going to tolerate this type of behavior," he said.

Nancy Pelosi, who leads Obama's Democratic Party in the House, said Syria's use of chemical weapons was outside of the "circle of civilized behavior." She said the United States must respond.

The Syrian government has denied that its military has used chemical weapons.

Obama said he is asking Congress to approve a "proportional, limited" military response that would send a "clear message" to Assad's regime and any other country interested in "testing international norms."

Sending 'a clear message' to Syria

"We recognize that there are certain weapons that when used can not only end up resulting in grotesque deaths but also can end up being transmitted to non-state actors, can pose a risk to allies and friends of ours, like Israel, like Jordan, like Turkey," he said as he headed into the meeting with congressional leaders.

Obama said the U.S. had a "broader strategy" that involves upgrading the capabilities of the Syrian opposition.

A day of intense outreach to the Congress included a appearances by Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

Even with Boehner’s backing, polls show many Americans remain skeptical about the need for a U.S. role in Syria. And there is no guarantee that Boehner will convince enough of his fellow Republicans in Congress to approve U.S. action.

In addition to building support at home for action against Syria, the president will discuss this week in Europe. He is flying to Sweden overnight for a one-day visit, then will attend the G20 summit Thursday and Friday in St. Petersburg.
 
Russia's role pivotal

British Prime Minister David Cameron also is expected to urge Syria’s top ally, Russia, to work with Western allies toward a political solution to Syria’s civil war.  Russia has blocked previous U.N. efforts to impose sanctions on Assad’s government.
 
Last week, Parliament rejected Cameron’s proposal for British participation in a military response to the suspected chemical weapons attack on August 21.   

French President Francois Hollande Tuesday called on Europe to forge a united response to Syria. However, he said France would wait for the U.S. Congress to vote on Obama’s plan for a strike before taking any military action.

The flow of refugees out of Syria has risen dramatically in recent months. The United Nations refugee agency says more than 2 million people have fled the country - up from 231,000 a year ago.

'A disgraceful humanitarian calamity'  
 
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres said Syria has become "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity, with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history."  He added that "the only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."

The U.N. says many of the refugees flee with little more than the clothes on their back, and that half of them are children. It has made appeals for international aid, but said Tuesday it has received only 47 percent of the money required to meet the basic needs of the refugees.

With 4.25 million more people displaced within Syria, the conflict has forced more than a quarter of the country's population to leave their homes.

The crisis that began in March 2011 as an uprising against President Assad's rule has left more than 100,000 people dead.

Assad denies his military was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, and he has challenged the United States and France to prove their allegations.  In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, he warned that a military strike by those countries could start a regional war.

Russia, a long-time Syrian ally, has also questioned the credibility of U.S. evidence that the Assad government used chemical weapons on civilians.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ishola, M from: Lagos
September 03, 2013 10:21 PM
The issues involved is beyond a military strike on Syria at this point in time. There are fundamental issues that must be pondered and this by the world at large as we are all stakeholders in the unforeseen consequences of the proposed strike. Let reason prevail and let us allow the UN do its job and as Ban Ki Moon has stated, any aggression will be illegal without due security council authourisation


by: JUDITH KAY from: BUREAU COUNTY ILLINOIS
September 03, 2013 4:09 PM
WAIT UNTIL ASSAD IS BACK FROM IRAN HIT THE PALACE ONLY AND THEN WAIT TWO DAYS BEFORE LAUNCHING THE OTHER STUFF...


by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
September 03, 2013 1:37 PM
Boehner's attitude bent to Saudi demands. America owes the Persian oil states too much money to dare deny their demand that the United States attack Syria, he was told. The alternative is bankruptcy.
Boehner, like Obama, pursed his lips to the please the Wahhabi Sunni bum, and agreed to do their bidding. Shame.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid