Fighting any and every use of chemical weapons is essential to the protection of the American people, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said Sunday.
“This very easily could happen in the United States if we’re not smart, and if we’re not conscious of what’s happening,” Haley said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” according to The Hill.
On Friday, a U.S.-led attack struck three major sites linked to Syria’s production and use of chemical weapons. The strike was payback for last Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack, in which Syrian forces allegedly gassed a village opposed to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
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“We have to be very conscious of the fact that we cannot allow even the smallest use of chemical weapons. That’s why you saw the president strike this past weekend, that’s why you saw him expel 60 Russian spies after the attack in Salisbury,” Haley said, referring to a March incident where a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in public.
After that attack, Haley said if a chemical attack could take place there, it could take place anywhere.
“If we don’t take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used,” Haley said, as reported by Newsweek. “They could be used here in New York or in cities of any country that sits on this council.”
Haley, who on Saturday attacked Russia for its refusal to abide by its agreement to prevent Syria from using chemical weapons, said Russia will face new sanctions because of its complicity.
“You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point,” she told CBS‘ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“We wanted their friends Iran and Russia to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well,” she added.
Haley noted that Friday’s attack was a military success.
“We went after their storage facilities where they kept components. We went after their massive research facility which was the heart of their chemical weapons program and we went after their production facility. So this was very strong attack on the chemical weapons program,” she said.
“We put a heavy blow into their chemical weapons program, setting them back years,” Haley added.
Haley also argued that Assad will be the one who decides if the U.S. needs to attack again.
“So, basically, we will watch his actions. He now dictates his life, and he dictates what happens between the United States, our allies and his regime. And so, hopefully, he has gotten the message. It was a pretty strong message. Not only did we go after their absolute strongest research facility, we went after their storage units where they hold the products, and we went after their production,” she said.
On Saturday, Haley told the U.N. Security Council that all of its talk about chemical weapons had accomplished nothing.
“A week has gone by in which we have talked. We’ve talked about the victims in Douma. We’ve talked about the Assad regime and its patrons, Russia and Iran,” Haley said. “We’ve spent a week talking about the unique horror of chemical weapons. The time for talk ended last night.”
And the United States has no current interest in talks with Syria, she indicated to CBS.
“We would never want to have direct talks with Syria at this point. They are not worthy of talks with the United States. They have done nothing but brutalize their people and destroy their land. All in the name of power. And so our goal is that yes, we will be at the talks as we have been related to the Geneva process. The United States is always there and will continue to be there,” she said.
“But no, we are not going to have any one-on-one talks with Assad.”
She said, however, that efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict will continue at the U.N.
“What has happened up until now is Syria has refused to come to the table to negotiate. But Russia and all of the other actors involved are coming to the table, and now it’s Russia’s turn to deliver Syria to the table for that political process. So it’s moving. It’s not moving near as fast as any of us want it to move. But this is a political process that needs to happen,” Haley said.
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