(adds quotes, background)
GENEVA Aug 28 Any U.S. military action taken in
response to apparent chemical weapons attacks in Syria would
need to be approved by the United Nations Security Council,
international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday.
"I think international law is clear on this. International
law says that military action must be taken after a decision by
the Security Council. That is what international law says," he
told a news conference in Geneva.
"I must say that I do know that President Obama and the
American administration are not known to be trigger-happy. What
they will decide I don't know. But certainly international law
is very clear - the Security Council has to be brought in."
Western leaders have made clear they are ready to take
action without Council authorisation, citing precedents for
foreign intervention to protect civilians.
Brahimi said it seemed that "some kind of substance" had
been used near Damascus on Aug. 21, killing hundreds of people,
but that he awaited evidence from Western powers as well as U.N.
inspectors currently visiting the sites.
Brahimi moved his headquarters from Cairo to Geneva earlier
this month in hope of overseeing preparations for an
international conference on ending Syria's civil war. The
meeting is known as Geneva 2, since it would follow a June 30,
2012 session when major powers reached agreement that they
wanted a political transition, but failed to stop the war.
"The Russians and the Americans are both telling me they
remain committed to Geneva 2, but what will happen, I think, we
will know only if and when this military action takes place,"
(Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark