British PM: No Action Can Be Taken on Syria Until We Hear from UN Weapons Inspectors

By Melanie Arter | August 29, 2013 | 11:24am EDT

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the House of Commons (AP Photo)

( – British Prime Minister David Cameron told the British House of Commons Thursday that no action should be taken on military action against Syria until U.N. weapons inspectors are heard.

“No action can be taken until we have heard from the UN weapons inspectors, until there’s been further action at the United Nations and another vote in this House. Those are the conditions that we, the British government, the British Parliament, are setting, and I think it’s absolutely right that we do so,” Cameron said.

Cameron was responding to a question from one member of the British Parliament, who asked, “Has the prime minister made it clear to President Obama that in no way does this country support any attack that could come before the UN inspectors have done their job?”

“In welcoming his decision to go through the UN process, could he confirm to the House that were we to find during that process, overwhelming opposition in the General Assembly and a majority against it in the Security Council as occurred 10 years ago, we wouldn’t then just motor on?” a member of Parliament asked.

Cameron said it would be “unthinkable to proceed if there was overwhelming opposition in the Security Council.”

“Let me set out for the House why I think this issue is so important. The very best route to follow is to have a Chapter 7 resolution, take it to the UN Security Council, have it passed, and then think about taking action. That is the path we followed with Libya,” he said.

The British PM said he wanted “the greatest possible unity on this issue” within the British Parliament.

Cameron said he shared President Barack Obama’s view of “the despicable nature of this use of chemical weapons and that we must not stand aside.”

The Conservative Party leader warned Obama, however, that public opinion on possible military action against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad had been “poisoned” by the Iraq war.

“One thing is indisputable, the well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the Iraq episode, and we need to understand the public’s skepticism,” said Cameron.

Cameron told Obama that because of this, “we would have to follow a series of incremental steps, including at the United Nations to build public confidence and ensure the maximum possible legitimacy for any action.”

“No one could in any way describe him as a president who wants to involve America in more wars in the Middle East, but he profoundly believes that an important red line has been crossed in an appalling way, and that is why he supports action in this case,” Cameron said.

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