At the United Nations Friday, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley reiterated the Trump administration’s position that the U.S. was “fully justified” in launching missile strikes on a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians, including children, earlier this week.
“We are prepared to do more,” Haley told the U.N. Security Council. “But we hope that won’t be necessary.”
Without elaborating on what additional action the U.S. might be considering, Haley repeated President Trump’s call “for all civilized nations to stop the horrors taking place in Syria and demand a political solution.”
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Haley also argued that the responsibility for Syria’s use of chemical weapons falls not only on president Bashar Assad, but his allies in Iran and Russia — noting that Russia had been entrusted with ensuring the removal of such weapons from the war-torn country.
“It could be that Russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in Syria. It could be that Russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons,” Haley said, echoing similar comments made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Thursday. “Or it could be that the Assad regime is playing the Russians for fools. Telling them that there are no chemical weapons, all the while stockpiling them on their bases.”
Russia, for its part, has condemned the U.S. missile strikes and promised to further bolster Syria’s anti-aircraft defenses.
Haley reminded the Security Council that she’d hinted at the possibility of a unilateral U.S. strike against Syria at an earlier meeting this week, warning that “when the international community fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”
She added: “The indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians is one of those times.”
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