As the Use of Chemical Weapons is Confirmed, the Administration Must Develop a Responsible & Comprehensive Approach to Deal with Syrian Crisis, Says Ros-Lehtinen

Apr 25, 2013 Issues: Foreign Affairs

(WASHINGTON) –U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

The Administration’s foreign policy agenda toward Syria, and the entire region, has been murky and muddled. However, President Obama has stated many times that use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross the ‘red line’ and should Assad ‘make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there where be consequences,’ and he ‘will be held accountable.’ Last month in Israel, President Obama reiterated that ‘once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer.’

Mr. President, it’s time for your Administration to put forth a cogent and decisive plan to deal with Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile. The growing threat of Assad unleashing his WMDs poses a direct national security threat to the U.S., the Syrian people, and our allies in the region. Earlier this year, I introduced the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Accountability Act to increase sanctions on any person or entity transferring goods, services, or technology for the chemical, biological, or advanced conventional weapons program of Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The Administration’s top priority must be to secure Syria’s WMDs safely to ensure they do not continue to be utilized nor fall into the wrong hands, but we must also hold Assad accountable for this atrocious act. If we do not hold Assad accountable, this would send a dangerous message to Iran, North Korea and others, as our response to this crisis in Syria will help dictate the nuclear calculus for Pyongyang and Tehran going forward.