09/01/2013 02:33 pm ET Updated Nov 01, 2013

Saudi Arabia Backs International Intervention Against Assad


(Adds quotes, Egyptian position)

CAIRO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia told fellow Arab League states on Sunday that opposing international intervention against the Syrian government would only encourage Damascus to use weapons of mass destruction.

The United States had seemed to be gearing up for a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces over an Aug. 21 poison gas attack, but is now seeking Congressional approval first.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told foreign ministers meeting in Cairo that condemnation of Syria over the poison gas attack, which U.S. officials say killed 1,429 people, was not enough. He said opposing international action on the grounds that it was "foreign intervention" was no longer acceptable.

"Any opposition to any international action would only encourage Damascus to move forward with committing its crimes and using all weapons of mass destruction," said Faisal.

"The time has come to call on the world community to bear its responsibility and take the deterrent measure that puts a halt to the tragedy."

President Barack Obama's decision to delay military action against Syria to seek Congressional support could delay a strike by at least 10 days, if it comes at all.

The Arab League meeting highlighted divisions between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over how to approach the Syrian crisis. Egypt said it was opposed to foreign military intervention in Syria. (Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Jon Boyle)



Syria War In August (Warning: Graphic Images)