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UN Security Council Should Unite on Response to Syria, Ban Says
The United Nations Security Council should “move beyond the current stalemate and show leadership,” uniting behind “an appropriate response” if allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria prove to be true, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“This is a larger issue than the conflict in Syria,” Ban told reporters in New York before leaving for the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. “This is about our collective responsibility to humankind. Whatever the source, this latest escalation should be a wake-up call for the international community.”
Russia, an ally of Syria that has a veto on the Security Council, has so far blocked action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is in the third year of a civil war.
Ban said he has “taken note” of U.S. President Barack Obama’s request for congressional authorization to launch a punitive military strike against Assad’s regime to deter future use of chemical weapons.
“At the same time, we must consider the impact of any punitive measure on efforts to prevent further bloodshed and facilitate the political resolution of the conflict,” Ban said, calling on all sides to renew efforts to organize peace talks in Geneva.
The UN is doing its “utmost” to expedite the analysis of samples retrieved by inspectors last week during their probe of an alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, near Damascus, Ban said.
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