Syria: NZ blames government for chemical attack
By Audrey Young
5:19 PM Wednesday Sep 11, 2013
New Zealand is now firmly blaming the Syrian Government for the chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians on August 21 while giving encouragement to the Russian-led initiative to have Syria surrender its chemical arsenal.
Prime Minister John Key said today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advised the Government late last night that the Bashar al-Assad regime was “absolutely responsible” for the attacks.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully issued a statement this morning aligning New Zealand with the views expressed by 11 countries on the margins of last week’s G20 summit in St Petersburg which firmly pointed to the Syrian Government being responsible for the attack.
Those countries were the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Turkey.
Mr Key and Mr McCully had previously said there was strong evidence that the Assad regime was responsible was have not been unequivocal.
Mr McCully’s statement today said the Russian suggestions deserved constructive consideration.
“The international community needs to take appropriate steps to ensure that there can be no further use of chemical weapons in Syria.”
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