Ban Ki-moon warns Syria against chemical weapons
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday once again warned Syria against using chemical weapons, saying any such attack would bring "dire consequences."
"I once again emphasise the fundamental responsibility of the Syrian government to ensure the safety and security of any such stockpile," Ban told reporters at a meeting marking the 15th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
"The use of such weapons would be an outrageous crime with dire consequences," he warned. "Chemical weapons simply have no place in the 21st century."
The UN chief noted that Syria and seven other nations still had not signed the convention.
"I have expressed grave concern with statements made by representatives of the Syrian government about the existence of chemical weapons and their possible use," Ban stressed.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the Syrian regime, seeking to crush an uprising, recently has moved chemical weapons to help keep them safe.
Meanwhile, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem charged that France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States "induce and support terrorism in Syria with money, weapons and foreign fighters."