4 Sep 2013

Goff seeks wider Syria briefing

11:24 am on 4 September 2013

The Foreign Affairs Minister says opposition parties will briefed on the developing situation in Syria, and on any government response - but only when the time is right.

Murray McCully's comments follow Labour Party MP Phil Goff's request for a briefing.

"We've seen things move significantly in the last few days particularly the timetable in which these matters may play out" Mr McCully said. "So we have to work our way though that and keep an eye on what's happening around the world, and make sure that any discussions with other political parties happen at the right time," he said.

On Wednesday the most senior Republican politician in the United States, John Boehner, said he supported the president Barack Obama's call for military action against Syria.

Mr Goff had written to Mr McCully requesting the briefing, after receiving unanimous support from Parliament in a motion condemning the recent poison-gas attack in Syria.

He says the Government needs to bring other political parties into its confidence with regards to the information it is receiving on Syria and the responses it is considering.

Mr Goff says it would be wrong to endorse or give moral support to a military strike that could be deemed ineffective.

Prime Minister John Key has meanwhile expressed his dismay at the Security Council's failure to meet formally to discuss the situation in Syria.

The council has only had meetings involving the five permanent members since the chemical attack last month.

Speaking from the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands, Mr Key said it seems a little odd that the full Security Council has not debated what he describes as an "utterly disastrous and devastating action".