EU blames Assad for alleged chemical attack in nuanced message
Saturday, September 07, 2013 - 01:25
Sept. 7 - As Secretary of State John Kerry looked for support for a military strike on Syria, the European Union said the Syria government was likely behind the alleged August chemical attack near Damascus, but stopped short of endorsing a military response by the West. Mana Rabiee reports.
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing for European support of a military strike on Syria, and on Saturday, the European Union on Saturday blamed the Syrian government for that deadly chemical attack in August.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said the evidence they've seen points to the regime.
SOUNDBITE: EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF CATHERINE ASHTON SAYING:
"It is the only one that possesses chemical weapons agents and the means of their delivery in a sufficient quantity."
But the European bloc stopped short of actually endorsing a military strike, issuing instead a carefully worded message that said any international response to Syria must include the United Nations.
Kerry said he was "grateful" for the EU statement but added President Barack Obama's made no decision yet about whether he'll wait for U.N. weapons inspectors' report on the chemical attack.
And he's keeping all his options open.
SOUNDBITE: U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING:
"The president has given up no rights of decision with respect to what he may or may not do."
Meanwhile, amateur video which Reuters can't verify claims to show the downing of a warplane by Syrian rebels, and government shelling in near Damascus.
Also in Damascus, Syrian Christians responded to a call from Pope Francis for a day of prayers for peace in their country.
An outcome that -- after more than two and a half years of civil war - appears elusive.
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