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Military intervention in Syria would need U.N. approval: Brahimi

Arab League-United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pauses during a news conference on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European he
Arab League-United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pauses during a news conference on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European he

GENEVA (Reuters) - Any U.S. military action taken in response to apparent chemical weapons attacks in Syria would need to be approved by the United Nations Security Council, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday.

"I think international law is clear on this. International law says that military action must be taken after a decision by the Security Council. That is what international law says," he told a news conference in Geneva.

"I must say that I do know that President Obama and the American administration are not known to be trigger-happy. What they will decide I don't know. But certainly international law is very clear - the Security Council has to be brought in."

Western leaders have made clear they are ready to take action without Council authorization, citing precedents for foreign intervention to protect civilians.

Brahimi said it seemed that "some kind of substance" had been used near Damascus on August 21, killing hundreds of people, but that he awaited evidence from Western powers as well as U.N. inspectors currently visiting the sites.

Brahimi moved his headquarters from Cairo to Geneva earlier this month in hope of overseeing preparations for an international conference on ending Syria's civil war. The meeting is known as Geneva 2, since it would follow a June 30, 2012 session when major powers reached agreement that they wanted a political transition, but failed to stop the war.

"The Russians and the Americans are both telling me they remain committed to Geneva 2, but what will happen, I think, we will know only if and when this military action takes place," Brahimi said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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