MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisted Wednesday on the need for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict and urged the UN Security Council to “unite,” as Western nations apparently geared up for military measures against Damascus.
“We must pursue all avenues to get the parties to the negotiating table,” Ban Ki-moon said in a speech delivered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, home to the UN's International Court of Justice.
Speaking about the current situation in the UN Security Council, which is divided on a solution to the Syrian conflict, he said: “The body entrusted with maintaining international peace and security cannot be missing in action.”
“The Council must at last find the unity to act. It must use its authority for peace,” he said, adding the UN inspectors currently in Syria should be given more time to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus.
The Western powers are considering armed intervention in the two-year civil war in Syria after hundreds of people were killed last week in the capital, Damascus, in an apparent nerve gas attack the opposition claimed was carried out by government forces.
The Syrian government immediately denied the allegations and claimed it had evidence of rebel groups using chemical weapons.
A British-drafted resolution that condemns “the chemical weapons attack by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad” will be submitted with the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter, and urged the council to support it.
“We've always said we want the UN Security Council to live up to its responsibilities on Syria,” Cameron tweeted. “Today they have an opportunity to do that.”
Any US military action taken in response to apparent chemical weapons attacks in Syria would need to be approved by the UN Security Council, the UN secretary general’s international envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday.
"I think international law is clear on this. International law says that military action must be taken after a decision by the Security Council. That is what international law says," he said at a press conference in Geneva, Reuters reported.
The United Nations Security Council has so far not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis. Moscow, along with Beijing, has previously vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning President Assad's government.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that President Obama had asked the US military to “prepare for all contingencies,” following the alleged gas attack incidents, US media reported.
Four United States Navy destroyers armed with cruise missiles are in the eastern Mediterranean, US defense officials told Fox News over the weekend.