No decision yet on Syria at the UN Security Council. The five permanent members met on Wednesday, but the meeting broke up with the Russian and Chinese delegates leaving to consult with their governments, and the British and French blaming them for the UN’s inactivity.
“We do not believe the Syrian regime should be able to hide behind the fact that the Russians continue to block action on Syria at the UN. We will make our decision on appropriate action going forward. We can’t be held up in responding by Russian intransigence, continued intransigence at the United nations, and quite frankly the situation is so serious that it demands a response,” said the US State department’s Marie Harf in Washington, after the meeting.
With the UN’s ability to act compromised, Britain’s foreign minister said the gravity of the situation demanded that those who could act, should.
“We’re clear that if there can’t be agreement, if there isn’t agreement at the United Nations, then we still have a responsibility, we and other nations still have a responsibility on chemical weapons. This is the first use of chemical warfare in the 21st century. It has to be unacceptable”, insisted William Hague.
On that, Russia and Iran agree, and said so in a joint statement after the meeting, but they still insist on a diplomatic and political solution. German leader Angela Merkel joined with Britain shortly afterwards to demand “punishment” for the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons, even if incontrovertible proof of this claim is still lacking.