11 Sep 2013

McCully urges Security Council action on Syria

8:30 pm on 11 September 2013

The Foreign Affairs Minister is urging the United Nations Security Council to address the Syria issue, saying those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held to account.

Murray McCully says New Zealand is disappointed the full 15 members have yet to meet to discuss the matter.

He says New Zealand welcomes any action that will get the Security Council to meet - a move he hopes will provide an alternative to unilateral action.

He says the advice from his ministry is that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, so the possibility of Syria surrendering such weapons is a good development.

Mr McCully is organising a briefing for other political parties to discuss the issue.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson, Phil Goff, says the focus now must be on removing the ability to use chemical weapons against people in Syria.

"All five permanent members of the Security Council, and 184 other countries have signed up to the chemical weapons convention.

"They have the obligation and they have the vested interest in seeing those weapons collected and disposed of safely."