US President Barack Obama pauses as he addresses the international media gathered at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday.© RIA Novosti. Sergey Guneev
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WASHINGTON, September 6 (RIA Novosti) – The United States on Friday secured support from several major allies in its claim that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is responsible for an apparent Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus and must be punished.
“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,” leaders from the United States and 10 other countries said in a joint statement from the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg.
The statement, signed by US allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, stopped short of calling for punitive military action against Assad’s government, which US President Barack Obama is advocating in the face of resistance from other governments as well as flagging support for an intervention among Americans.
But the nations said the perpetrators of the alleged attack “must be held accountable” and backed US accusations against Assad’s government.
“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,” the leaders said.
The statement was signed by leaders and representatives of the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey and Britain.
Washington has seen tepid support among many of its allies for US military action against Syrian government targets, most notably in Britain, where lawmakers last month refused to authorize Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to join the Americans in a retaliatory strike.
Russia has repeatedly said any outside military intervention in the Syrian conflict would be illegal if it is not approved by the UN Security Council and has warned that Assad’s overthrow could usher Islamist extremists into power.
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