SYRIA Peaceful Solution: John Kerry Says Assad Must Hand Over Chemical Weapons To Stop Attack
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Published on Sep 9, 2013
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Syria: If Bashar al-Assad hands over chemical weapons we will not attack, says John Kerry
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said that strikes on Syria could be avoided, if President Bashar al-Assad hands over his stockpile of chemical weapons.
By Harriet Alexander
10:58AM BST 09 Sep 2013
Mr Kerry was in London on Monday morning on the final leg of a whirlwind European tour to drum up support for intervention in Syria.
When asked by a reporter whether there was anything Assad's government could do or offer to stop an attack, Mr Kerry said: "Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week -- turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it).
"But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done."
Mr Kerry repeated his belief, stated on numerous occasions, that "the risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting."
He continued: "What should we do? Turn our backs, have a moment of silence?
"We live in a dangerous world as it is, folks, and if we don't stand up to it we will face yet more."
Proponents of military intervention will meet this afternoon in Washington, as President Barack Obama and his officials continue their campaign to convince sceptical politicians and members of the public of the case for intervention. Speaking alongside William Hague, the foreign secretary, Mr Kerry reaffirmed his argument that only Mr Assad's forces could have carried out the chemical weapons attack.
"I just gave you real evidence," he said. "We know that his regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. We know they deployed forces.
"We know by tracing the weapons. It is no accident they all came from regime-controlled territory and landed in opposition territory.
"We know that within minutes of them landing, social media exploded with video that could not be contrived. Kids not even able to speak, heaving for breath, spasming. We see that happening within instants.
"Then we know -- we see and hear -- the regime issuing instructions to stop the attack."
And Mr Kerry, a lawyer by trade, said that he had sent people to prison with far weaker evidence than the case being built against Mr Assad.
"What does he offer? Words contradicted by facts. And he doesn't have a good track record in this.
"I personally visited him once, on the instruction of the White House, to discuss the transfer of scud missiles to Hizbollah. And he sat there and denied it to my face.
"This is a man without credibility."
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