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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid