Washington: As many as 14 more countries have joined the US in its call for a strong international response against the use of chemical weapons in Syria in a boost to the Obama Administration`s push for a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The joint statement signed by two dozen countries calls to hold accountable those who are responsible for the use of chemical weapons and a strong international response to it.
The initial 11 signatories to the joint statement issued on the sidelines of last week`s G20 conference are Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the US.
Since then 14 more countries have signed on to the joint statement - Albania, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Qatar, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates.
"We welcome additional countries expressing their support for this statement and our continued efforts to hold the Assad regime accountable and enforce the international norm against the use of chemical weapons," the White House said in a statement.
"We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world`s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. Those who perpetrated these crimes must be held accountable," the joint statement said.
Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council`s responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognise that the Council remains paralysed as it has been for two and a half years, the statement said.
"The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability. We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons," it said.
The US has alleged that the nerve agent ‘sarin’ was used by the Assad regime on August 21 that left at least 1,429 people killed, a charge denied by the Syrian government.