In an interview with Al Arabiya television’s New York bureau chief Talal al-Hajj, U.N. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said the international response to the crisis in Syria was weakened by the lack of a strong U.N. resolution as a base for action.
He also addressed the threat of Syrian chemical weapons, saying assurances from the Assad’s regime about the WMD were not satisfactory.
“You are never satisfied until you know that that is completely excluded but we need to keep reminding all parties of the enormous responsibility not to make these weapons come to use,” Eliasson said. He said the Libya scenario will be a reminder of the importance of acting early.
“This will be a reminder of the importance of acting early, in the case of Syria this might have been a manageable conflict 1.5 years ago, maybe 1 year ago, maybe even 6 months ago.”
The U.N. official said he received reports that the Syrian regime is using “missiles similar to scud missiles” but that he had no confirmation.
Regarding reports that radical Islamist Jihadists were taking part in the Syrian conflict, Eliasson said the reports are not alarming to a high degree, but express concern that armed groups would be strengthened if the war continues for long.
“The tragedy is that with the passing of time, with the continued fighting, continued war, we will see the risk that those elements will be strengthened.”