Scottish government says 'give weapons inspectors time'

By staff writers
August 28, 2013

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has called on the UK government to give UN weapons inspectors in Syria "the time and the full support of the international community to complete their investigations."

The case for armed action has not been made or substantiated, he declared.

MSPs on all sides at Holyrood are known to be cautious, sceptical or hostile towards military intervention, but the Scottish Parliament has no say in the matter - and nor, independence campaigners point out, does Westminster in any meaningful way under the current system.

The Scottish government is keen not to be seen to be exploiting a delicate situation for political purposes. But the SNP, Greens, independents and pro-independence socialists have made no secret of the fact that the UK's habit of going into legally questionable wars against public opinion is one of many reasons why they believe Scotland should be able to govern itself as a nation, and to urge partners in the British Isles to develop a different approach to international affairs and defence.

First Minister Alex Salmond said today: “The Scottish Government condemns unreservedly the actions of the Assad regime over recent months and years. In particular, we condemn and deplore any use of chemical weapons by any party as a crime against humanity.

"If the findings of UN inspectors do point to this appalling attack having been perpetrated by the Syrian regime, Assad and those responsible should face the full accountability of the International Criminal Court.

“Any resort to military action should always be approached carefully, on an evidential base, and within a clear legal framework – and only after full consideration of the aims, objectives and consequences. At this stage, we consider that these criteria have not been met and therefore that the case for military action in Syria – or the UK’s participation in it - has not yet been made.

“The Scottish Government believes that the UN inspectors should be given the time and the full support of the international community to complete their investigations,” declared Mr Salmond.

* 'Syria: what lies behind the clamour for military strikes?', by Simon Barrow: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18911

* More on Syria from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria

[Ekk/3]

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