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Assad must turn over chemicals within a week to prevent Syria attack: Kerry

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 18:07

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Rubbishing Assad’s denials of being involved in August 21 chemical attacks, US Secretary of State John Kerry sought to present a strong case for strike on Syria, saying that an attack could be avoided only if Syrian President handed over “every single bit” of chemical weapons to the international community within a week.

Addressing a joint news briefing with UK counterpart William Hague, Kerry said, "He (Assad) could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn`t about to do it and it can`t be done".

Kerry reiterated that the US has evidence of Sarin gas attacks, and that not acting in Syria chemical attack case would be a risk greater than that of acting.

"If you want to send Iran and Hezbollah and Assad a congratulatory message: `You guys can do what you want,` you`d say: `Don`t do anything.`

"We believe that is dangerous and we will face this down the road in some more significant way if we`re not prepared to take ... a stand now," Kerry said.

While making a strong case for Syria strike to punish Assad regime, Kerry at the same time stressed that the US believed that “the end of the conflict in Syria requires a political solution”.

“There is no military solution, we have no illusions about that. But a resolution to this has to come about.. A resolution will not be found on the battlefield, but at that negotiating table. But we have to get to that table," Kerry said after talks with William Hague.

Hague on the other hand asserted that the US had full British diplomatic support even though it will not be involved in a military act.

It should be noted that the British lawmakers have already rejected a vote on UK’s involvement in Syria attack last month.

Reacting to Kerry’s latest remarks, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said, US officials were using chemical weapons claims as "pretext" to attack Syria.

First Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:49

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