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Hague urges strong Syria response
The international community has a responsibility to take action against Syrian war crimes even without a United Nations security council resolution, William Hague has said.
The Foreign Secretary said discussions in New York would continue over the coming days but accepted an agreement on a fresh resolution was unlikely given Russian and Chinese opposition to intervention.
But he insisted that the use of chemical weapons had to be confronted as he warned that "even bigger war crimes" could be expected in the future if there was a failure to act.
The UK tabled a resolution to allow "what is necessary" to be done to protect civilians and prevent the further use of chemical weapons by Bashar Assad's regime.
The Foreign Secretary said: "We have put forward to them a draft resolution which condemns the use of chemical weapons, which demands that the Assad regime cease to use such weapons and which resolves to do what is necessary to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people affected by chemical weapons attacks and to try to prevent the further use of the chemical stockpiles of the Assad regime.
"I expect there will be further discussions in New York over the coming days but we have started those discussions about a UN resolution, because by far the best thing would be if the United Nations could be united, unlikely as that seems in the face of vetoes from Russia and China that we have had in the past, but we have to try to do that."
But he added: "We are clear that if there can't be agreement, if there isn't agreement at the United Nations, then we still have a responsibility, we and other nations, still have a responsibility.
"This is the first use of chemical warfare in the 21st century, it has to be unacceptable, we have to confront something that is a war crime, something that is a crime against humanity.
"If we don't do so then we will have to confront even bigger war crimes in the future. So we continue to look for a strong response from the international community, that is legal, that is proportionate and that is designed to deter the further and future use of chemical weapons."
A UK response to the chemical weapons attack was agreed unanimously by the National Security Council and is set to be approved by the Cabinet.