US President Barack Obama will use his Tuesday’s address to the United Nations in New York to demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down, according to US officials.
White House spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters on Friday that Obama’s speech will also focus on the need for a tough resolution demanding Syria turn over its chemical weapons or face a threat of force.
Obama will urge “the international community to stand up to the use of chemical weapons,” Rhodes said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry also said Thursday the UN Security Council must be prepared to act on Syria’s chemical weapons program next week.
“Now the test comes. The Security Council must be prepared to act next week. It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out,” said Kerry who will join world leaders for the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday,
Washington has claimed that the Syrian government is responsible for a chemical attack near Damascus on August 21.
Damascus has categorically rejected the allegations and even Obama’s top aide, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, has admitted that Washington’s claims were based on a “common-sense test” not any “irrefutable” evidence.
Meanwhile, Russia has said it has evidence which shows militant groups operating in Syria staged the attack to incriminate the Syrian government.
Earlier this month, WorldNetDaily reported that classified documents obtained from the US intelligence community’s National Ground Intelligence Center showed that militants from al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front had obtained and used sarin gas in Syria.
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds most Americans still have little confidence in either President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry to handle the situation in Syria.
According to the poll, just 36 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the Syrian conflict, while 51 percent disapprove.