John Key: It's one thing to send in a cruise missile, or
whatever it might be, but what actually happens after that
- so it's just not easy out there.' Photo Reuters
Prime Minister John Key has stopped short of pledging
military and moral support to nations considering military
strikes on Syria after the US said it had proof the regime used
sarin gas against its citizens.
Hair and blood samples from the emergency workers at the
scene of last month's attack in Damascus had shown signs of
the powerful sarin nerve gas, US Secretary of State John
President Barack Obama yesterday asked Congress to approve
punitive military action against the Syrian regime.
Today Mr Key said it was a challenging and tragic situation
"I think it's certainly a terrifying situation out there
about what actually happens next, let alone what's happened
in the past," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme.
Syria had a "complicated web of relationships" in the Middle
East, including Iran, and with Russia, Mr Key said.
"So it's one thing to send in a cruise missile, or whatever
it might be, but what actually happens after that - so it's
just not easy out there."
The world could not afford to have another Rwanda, where a
million people were killed, he said.
"So acting is a big step and it's a difficult thing to do."
Western leaders felt a "huge responsibility" to protect the
Syrian citizens, Mr Key said.
"The Foreign Minister spoke to Secretary John Kerry over the
weekend. They're certainly giving us all the information as
they get it. We're aware of what they're doing. But in
principle this is about whether New Zealand would stand up
and say 'yes on balance we agree with what you're doing'," Mr
New Zealand's view was to work through the UN, which had had
inspectors in and around Damascus looking for evidence of
chemical attacks on its citizens.
"I think those inspectors would be out by now - they've got
to take some time analysing the information - but let's see
how this thing plays out," Mr Key said.