In a strong statement at the UN Security Council emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the chemical attacks in Syria, American Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States will no longer allow Assad to use such weapons.
She said it is now time for a political solution and that the U.S. expects Russia and Iran to hold their ally accountable and to respect cease-fires. She questioned whether Russia knowingly allowed Syria to use chemical weapons, is incompetent or whether Assad is playing the Russians for fools.
Haley added the U.S. took a very measured step last night — but are prepared to do more.
"We hope that is not necessary," she said.
Haley, who is also presiding over the Security Council this month, demanded the meeting be open to the press.
"The United States, as president of the Council this month, decided the session would be held in the open. Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear," Haley said in a statement before the meeting.
The U.S. is joining France and Britain in seeking a draft resolution condemning this week's deaths but it's not clear what additional action the UN might take. Negotiations on the resolution wording are ongoing, according to Jonathan Wachtel, spokesman for Haley.
However, Haley appeared to suggest earlier this week appeared to forecast U.S. unilateral action if Security Council members could not agree.
"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," she said without elaborating.