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Arab League holds Syria responsible for chemical attack

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-28 11:04

CAIRO - The Arab League (AL) on Tuesday said it held the Syrian administration "fully responsible" for the deadly chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, official news agency MENA reported.

"Those behind the chemical attack in Syria should face international justice," AL chief Nabil al-Arabi said in a statement issued after an extraordinary meeting of the pan-Arab group in Cairo.

In the statement, Arabi urged the UN Security Council to urgently take all required procedures to prevent using such fatal weapons, and said the perpetrators must face international trial.

The statement also stressed the necessity for launching an initiative of ceasefire in all the Syrian territories and adopting appropriate operation to supervise and provide suitable environment for a political solution.

Blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attacks, the Arab league urged the UN Security Council to act amid prospected Western strike.

The Syrian opposition said they expected a strike against Assad 's forces within days to punish the attacks, state-run Ahram website quoted sources as saying.

Using the chemical weapons is "a blatant defiance," and " disregard for the morals and humanitarian values and the international norms," the AL's statement added, accusing Assad of "genocide."

The Syrian opposition has accused the Syrian government of committing unprecedented "massacre" last Wednesday in Damascus countryside by using poisoned gas within the presence of the international supervisors.

The Syrian government strongly denied the accusation.

In the AL's statement, Egypt stressed the importance of continuing the work of the UN chemical investigation team to identify those responsible for using the chemical weapons and asked for holding the perpetrators accountable.

Iraq upholds that those responsible for the crime should face trial, but stressing the necessity for political solution. Algeria and Lebanon withheld their backing for the Arab League statement or parts of it.

During the meeting, Qatar, Jordan, Libya and Saudi Arabia agreed on the necessity to condemn the Syrian government for using chemical weapons and held it accountable for all the results of the "heinous crime," the statement added.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, in particular, said "firm and serious" action is needed against Damascus over a chemical weapon attack that killed hundreds of civilians.

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