Ban Ki-moon the Secretary General of the United Nations said on Tuesday that any punitive action against the government of Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21 would require an approval by the UN Security Council, or be deemed illegal, unless the party could prove a case for self-defense.
France and the U.S. have said that the regime in Syria led by President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in an attack last month and are considering the use of military action.
Such a strike is certain to occur without Security Council approval since both China and Russia have used their veto power to consistently block any action against the current regime in Syria.
The White House administration has argued that an attack using chemical weapons cannot be left unpunished because of inaction by the Security Council
Ban however says that the Security Council’s primary responsibility is for international security and peace. Using force is lawful, said Ban, only when exercising self-defense states article 51 of the U.N. charter or if approved by the Security Council.
Ban warned as well that military action against the government of Syria might unleash additional turmoil and much bloodshed in a war than already has cost 100,000 people to be killed.
Ban said he takes note of certain arguments for action in order to prevent any future chemical weapons use, but at the same time, the impact must be considered of a punitive measure on the ongoing efforts to prevent additional bloodshed and the facilitation of a political resolution to the war.
U.S. President Barack Obama has received key support from Congressional leaders in Washington to take military action.
Ban stopped short of blaming a particular party for the attack in a suburb outside Damascus saying if it were confirmed it would be a serious violation of law and a huge war crime.