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US prepared to act if diplomacy fails: Rice

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 10:03

Washington: The UN report into chemical weapons attack in Syria leaves no doubt that the Assad regime was to blame, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice has said reiterating that the America is prepared to act if the ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring these weapons under international control fails.

"If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act," Rice said hours after the UN report on use of chemical weapons in Syria was released yesterday at the UN headquarters in New York.

"The UN report adds even more evidence to what we have already concluded that sarin was used by the Syrian regime on a large scale on August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus," she said.

Rice said the UN team collected a wealth of evidence ? including surface-to-surface rockets, dozens of environmental and soil samples, and biomedical samples ? that tested positive for signatures of sarin.

Although the team’s mandate was not to determine who was responsible for these heinous attacks, the technical evidence included in the report reinforces the American assessment that these attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime, as only they had the capability to mount an attack in this manner, Rice asserted.

Rice said this weekend’s talks in Geneva developed a framework that could bring about the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which would end the threat these weapons pose to the Syrian people, the region and the world.

"We will continue working urgently with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations, the OPCW, and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act," the National Security Advisor said.

Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said findings in the report, do support the conclusion the world already reached based on overwhelming evidence that the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on August 21st.

"This information comes at a time when the United States has made great progress in our effort to put Assad?s chemical weapons under international control so that they can be ultimately destroyed. And the progress that we`ve made thus far could not have been achieved without the threat of force and President Obama?s decision to explore this diplomatic path," Carney has said.

The United States, he said, has stepped up its assistance to the Syrian opposition.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 10:03

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