Kerry reasserts Syria charge despite Assad denial
In press conference with Britain's Hague, US secretary of state says there is strong evidence Assad was behind chemical attack. 'The question is what are we going to do about it' he adds. Poll: Seven in 10 Americans believe strike won't achieve US goals
Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday renewed US allegations that Syria's President Bashar Assad launched a chemical weapons attack against his own people and said that Assad could resolve the crisis by turning over "every single bit" of his weapons arsenal to the international community within a week.
Appearing at a news conference with William Hague, his British counterpart, Kerry quickly added that Assad "isn't about to do that."
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Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday shows that even though eight in 10 Americans believe that the Bashar Assad regime gassed its own people, a strong majority doesn't want
Congress to pass a resolution authorizing a military strike against the regime.
More than seven in 10 say such a strike would not achieve significant goals for the US and a similar amount say it's not in the national interest for the US to get involved in Syria's bloody two-year long civil war.
Kerry was asked about comments that Assad made to CBS anchorman Charlie Rose in which the beleaguered Syrian leader argued there was no conclusive evidence about who is to blame for the chemical weapons attack.
Asked pointblank about that, Kerry said, "I just gave you real evidence."
"Evidence that as a former prosecutor in the United States I could take into a courtroom and get admitted," the secretary added. Kerry said he had personally tried people who had been sent to prison for life for less than what Assad is accused of doing.
"So the evidence is powerful and the question for all of us is what are we going to do about it," Kerry said. "Turn our backs? Have a moment of silence?"
"We know that his regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. We know they deployed forces."
Kerry added that Washington "knows where the rockets came from and where they landed ... and it was no accident that they all came from regime -controlled territory and all landed" in opposition-held territory.
He added that the United States knows "where the rockets came from and where they landed ... and it was no accident that they all came from regime -controlled territory and all landed" in opposition-held territory.
Meanwhile, Russian and Syrian foreign ministers said Monday they planned to push for the return of United Nations inspectors to Syria to continue their probe into the use of chemical weapons.
Lavrov said after Monday's talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem that Moscow will continue to promote a peaceful settlement and may try to convene a gathering of all Syrian opposition figures who are interested in peaceful settlement. He said a US attack on Syria would deal a fatal blow to peace efforts.
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