President Donald Trump said Wednesday afternoon that the recent chemical gas attack in Syria was "an affront to humanity" and "cannot be tolerated." Without elaborating on his plans, the president added that this latest attack "crossed a lot of lines."
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that more than 100 have been declared dead from the attack, a marked uptick from previous estimates.
Trump's remarks came shortly after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that when the U.N. "consistently fails" in addressing a matter, individual states are "compelled" to go it alone.
"In the life of the United Nations, there are times when we are compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: when the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action," Haley told the Council.
Haley was speaking to the Security Council, chairinga meeting of the U.N.'s most powerful committee, on the topic of the gas attack. There was confusion as to what exactly Haley meant, and Trump did not tip his hand during the joint appearance with the king of Jordan.
The U.S., U.K. and France, all veto powers on the Council, are backing a draft resolution that faults Assad for Tuesday's attack. But Russia, also a veto member, blames Assad's opposition.
The Wall Street Journal reports Wednesday that Russia is negotiating with other members on the matter, and has yet to conclusively declare it will veto any motion on Syria, though it has said the draft resolution is unacceptable.
Earlier, the United Kingdom expressed its exasperation with Russia.
"Russia just said that the opposition is responsible," Matthew Rycroft, the U.K. ambassador to the U.N, told the Council Wednesday. "But we have seen nothing to suggest that any non-state actors in Syria have the sort of chemical weapons that would be consistent with the symptoms that we saw yesterday."
But later, the U.K. emphasized it was open to negotiations.
"If they are prepared to negotiate, then we are prepared to negotiate," Rycroft told the media after his remarks. "They talk a lot about preserving Security Council unity. This is their moment to demonstrate that they can do their bit for Security Council unity. To stop defending the indefensible."
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