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11 G20 members blame Syrian gov’t for chemical attacks, call for ‘strong’ response
Ten members of the Group of 20 international economies joined the United States in accusing the Syrian government of carrying a chemical weapons attack on civilians last month and called for a strong international response against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
A joint statement by the ten countries and the United States stopped short of explicitly calling for military action against the Syrian government, as President Obama is advocating.
But the tough language aligned half of the G-20 members with Obama, who worked the sidelines of the summit to build international support for a limited U.S. military response. Obama is seeking congressional authority to launch a strike.
The countries are Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Read the full statement below:
The Leaders and Representatives of the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and Saudi Arabia made the following statement on the margins of the Group of 20 Nations Leader’s Meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia:
The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal. The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere. Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons.
We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.
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.