British gov't: Security Council failed Syria

Aug. 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

LONDON, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council has not shouldered its responsibilities regarding the lingering conflict in Syria, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Members of the international community are reviewing their options in Syria amid reports of the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. A convoy belonging to U.N. inspectors was fired on by gunmen Monday as they made their way to investigate claims of chemical weapons used in a suburb of Damascus.

Hague said in a Monday interview with the BBC the diplomatic route had failed to usher in a unified stance on the conflict.

"The United Nations' Security Council has not been united on Syria [and] it's not shouldered its responsibilities on Syria," he said.

Western members of the Security Council have put their weight behind opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Permanent member Russia said it supports the Assad regime, one of its most loyal military customers.

Unity at the Security Council would have brought an end to the crisis "a long time ago," the foreign secretary said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he instructed the U.N. team in Syria to issue a "strong complaint" to the government and to opposition forces regarding sniper fire in Damascus. The team continued its investigation later in the day.

Western leaders said the use of chemical weapons may trigger a stronger response to the Syrian crisis. Hague said he wasn't "going to rule anything in or out," but stressed there may be options for a response that wouldn't require U.N. support.

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