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US: 'No avenue forward' on UN Syria resolution

Aug. 28, 2013 10:06 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2013 8:40 P.M.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- A resolution condemning Syria's alleged poison gas use has stalled in the UN Security Council due to Russian "intransigence," the United States said Wednesday.

"We see no avenue forward, given continued Russian opposition to any meaningful Council action on Syria," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters as Washington and Western allies mull a possible strike on Syria after last week's alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian regime forces.

Harf also strongly suggested that Washington would consider proceeding with whatever plans it was developing with its allies in response to actions by the Syrian regime.

"We cannot be held up in responding by Russia's continued intransigence at the United Nations, and quite frankly the situation is so serious that it demands a response," Harf said.

"Syria cannot hide behind Russian intransigence at the Security Council. It is unacceptable."

Harf spoke shortly after Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States discussed a British draft resolution that would allow military action in Syria.

"Today we heard nothing different from the Russians," she said, citing Moscow's repeated vetoes of Security Council resolutions that condemned President Bashar Assad's government's handling of the crisis in the war-ravaged Middle Eastern nation.

Harf also said Assad's regime has used a visit by UN inspectors currently in Syria to delay any possible Western response and to "systematically destroy evidence" of any recent chemical weapons use.

"We believe that the Assad regime has to be held responsible," she said, but she stressed that "no decision has been made" on a final course of action on Syria.

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