Military option should remain open on Syria: NATO chief

BRUSSELS, (PNA/Xinhua) — NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the military option should remain open to ensure Syria keep its promise to eliminate chemical weapons.

“I think it is essential to keep momentum in the diplomatic and political process that the military option is still on the table,” Rasmussen said at an event organized by the think-tank Carnegie Europe in Brussels.

The NATO chief said the agreement between the U.S. and Russia over eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons cannot be reached without “the credible threat of military action”.

Rasmussen said it was crucial that the U.N. Security Council expeditiously adopts a resolution to ensure a “swift, secure and verifiable elimination of Syria’s substantial stocks of chemical weapons.”

Rasmussen added that the use of chemical weapons is a crime, and the international community has a duty to hold those responsible to account.

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Monday welcomed the UN report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, hailing it as a reinforcement of the U.S. previous assessment that “these attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime.”

But Russia criticized Western countries for jumping to conclusions in favor of the Syrian opposition, saying all facts and questions “need to be addressed seriously and professionally.”

Late Monday, Liu Jieyi, Chinese ambassador to UN, condemned any use of chemical weapons, calling on the international community to beef up their efforts for a political solution to the Syria crisis.

“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons,” he said, urging relevant parties to immediately stop the violence and bloodshed in Syria.

Hailing the political solution as the only way out of the Syria crisis, the Chinese envoy urged the international community to pave the way for the destruction of the chemical weapons and the second Geneva meeting.