and leading from that gas into lebanon and jordan and providing an incredible burden to each of those countries and others in the region. this is a humanitarian catastro catastro-phy and it will make things worse for everybody, the united states is proud to say we have been the largest humanitarian donor. we recognize that responsibility and we are also proud to say
that we stand with our friends here in great britain who are the second largest donor. so we don't come to this with a sense that all we care about is some kind of a military response. we come to this with years now of effort, literally years of effort, to try to bring the parties to the table and create some kind of political solution because that remains our top priority. i -- our respected leaders made it clear in st. petersburg that we believe a strong international response is necessary to ensure that atrocitys like the one that assad committed against hundreds of his own people are not going to happen again. and our special relationship with the uk is not just about
syria, it's not just about a response to this humanitarian crisis, it's also about the future and climate change and economic prosperity for all of our people. we are not only -- we are both committed to try to move forward on a trade relationship, to grow jobs for our people. and we are not only each other's largest investors in each of our countries, one to the other, but the fact is that everyday almost 1 million people go to work in america for british companies that are in the united states just as more than 1 million people go to work here in great britain for american companies that are here. so we are enormously tied together obviously. and we are committed to making both the u.s., uk and the
u.s.-eu stronger drivers of prosperity. last month the united states held the first round of the negotiations for the trans atlantic trade partnership and we will continue to work closely together because we both believe that working with the uk and the rest of the eu to finalize an agreement is going to create new investments, to add to those millions of people in both countries i just talked about, it will create new jobs and it will create growth on both sides of the atlantic. so as margaret thatche put it bluntly, the uk and u.s. are real and true friends and our relationship which is grounded in those values and traditions we both referred to remains as relevant today as it has been in the past and we look forward to continuing to strengthen this
relationship and working hard to make real progress on the very many challenges that we face in an increasingly complicated and in too many places dangerous world, thank you, william. >> thank you very much. we will have a couple of questions from each side of the atlantic, and kyle you can pick the round. >> james robins from bbc news, mr. secretary how seriously do you take the threats of assad of retaliation by allies if the u.s. does strike, the risk and drags the united states further in conflict and if britain said yes rather than no to strikes the president would order them by now, wouldn't they, and you build a different sort of coalition using powerful argument for action against inaction. the logic of that surely is that whatever the votes in congress the president will go ahead with
strikes, the votes can't change his moral position. >> well, i'm not surprised to find here a well-put question that basically tries to get me to answer something that the president has not decided. so i just have to tell you that the president made a decision based on his gut and his best sense of what was best for the united states of america and our congress and our democracy. and he knew it would be tough. he didn't -- there was no misinterpretation of the vote here. i think that is why the president made a very courageous decision, to go to the congress notwithstanding what happened here, recognizing that in our democracy it was important to
ask for the congress to also invest in this effort. and i can't tell you that if the vote had been different the president would have made a different decision at all. i think he was thinking about the best way to proceed and he made his decision about the best way to proceed. i'm confident that congress is going to listen very, very carefully and is listening carefully. members of doing their homework and diligence here, there are a lot of briefings in the course of the last week. we will have a full house briefing later today that i will take part in, a full senate briefing tomorrow. i believe the president will then talk to the american people. but what i think is important here, i met with a friend of mine who is a member of the british parliament telling me here still there was some people who question the evidence. who are not sure that in the
post iraq moment we are not going to be confronting a pre-iraq presentation. and there is a lot of fear of that. i understand that fear. i was in the congress when we voted on iraq. and i know the deficits of the intelligence back then. and that's why we took our time, very, very carefully, secretary chuck hagel was senator hagel as i was senator kerry and both of us are determined now as appointed officials of the obama administration to do our utter best not to have history suggest that we were less than thorough with respect to this intelligence. so we took more time. the president instructed that he wanted the story told as fully as was possible without compromising intelligence sources and methods.
intelligence community was instructed to release more information than we ever have previously in this kind of a situation. and so we declassified things that normally would not be declassified. and there is a risk in that. but the risk of not having people understand the full measure of the evidence i think the president decided was greater. so what have we put out to people, what do we know about this? notwithstanding president assad's interview which has not been made fully public, we know that his regime gave orders to prepare for a chemical attack. we know that they deployed forces and put them in the places where this took place. we know by tracing it physically where the rockets came from and
where they landed. and it is no accident that they all came from regime-controlled territory and all landed in opposition-controlled or contested territory. we know this. we know that within moments of them landing in that territory the social media exploded with videos that we also know could not be contrived and we have done various means of ascertaining that through technology check up. so we know that those are real and we see people dying, children, young kids, not old enough to even speak, heaving for breath, spasmming, you know, struggling. and we see all of that within instants of this happening in the very area that we trace that
the rockets landed. then we hear and know the regime is issuing more instructions to stop the attack and we know they issue instructions to their people that they are worried about the un inspectors finding what was going on. and then they shell the area that was attacked for four days with four times the i can't remember the exact number of shells that occurred in the previous ten days. and we also know through confirmation through other technical means with other countries acknowledgment this happened. syria and iran have admitted there was a chemical attack. they just tried to blame it on people who have no scientific capacity to do this and where there is no evidence that they have any of the weaponry to be
able to do it and most importantly just as a matter of logic tell me how they would do it from the center of the regime-controlled area and put it into their own people. it defies logic and defies common sense here. so the evidence is powerful and the question for all of us is what are we going to do about it? turn our backs? have a moment of silence? we are a dictator with impunity and threaten the rest of the world that he will retaliate for his own criminal activity because he is being held accountable? we live in a dangerous world as it is, folks. and that kind of threat is nothing different from the threat we face every single day. and if we don't stand up to it we will face it more and they will think they can intimidate anybody. i don't believe we should shy from the moment.
the risk of not asking is greater than the risk of acting. and everybody needs to stop and think about that hard. >> let me answer that before the next question and secretary kerry has logic of what he says about the evidence, it's very, very compelling, but on the bbc's question also about the latest remarks of president assad, we must not fall in the trap of attaching too much credibility of the words of a leader, president assad who presided over so many war crimes and crimes against humanity and shown a murderous disregard for the welfare of his own people. often denied events that have happened, refused in the past to admit the existence of chemical weapons now acknowledged. so let's not fall into the trap of believing every word that comes out of the mouth of such a
man. next question? >> cbs. >> thank you. >> mr. secretary, in that cbs interview that you just referenced, bashir asaid said the presentation you made reminds him of quote his words of the big lie that colon powell said in front of the word about weapons of mass destruction in iraq and says you personally have presented no evidence of a chemical weapons attack, just your confidence and your convictions. and he disputes the argument you just laid out, his argument saying his government relies on reality, not social media and says russian intelligence contradicts this false evidence. what
is your response? and, secondly, is there anything at this point that his government could do or offer that would stop an attack?
>> sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week, turn it over, all of it. without delay and allow a full and total accounting for that. but he is not about to do it. and it can't be done obviously. but with respect
to the credibility issue, look, i just answered that. i just gave you real evidence. evidence that as a former prosecutor in the united states i could tell you i can take into a courtroom and get admitted and i believe this man, i mean, i personally tried people who have got away for long prison sentences or life for less evidence than we have of this. so i'm confident about the state of the evidence. you can go to the white
house.gov, read the unclassified report and make your own judgments. what does he offer? words that are contradicted by facts. and he doesn't have a very strong record with respect to this question of credibility because i personally visited him once at the instruction of the white house to confront him on his transfer of scud missiles to hezbola and he simply denied it to my face despite the evidence i presented and showed him. this is a man who killed through his regime a thousand of his own citizens over 100,000 or about 100,000 have been murdered over the course of last month, he sends scud missiles into schools. he sends airplanes to bomb
children. everybody has seen that. this is a man without credibility. and so i will happily stand anywhere in the world with the evidence that we have against his words and his deception and his acts. >> another question? >> mr. secretary, despite all of the evidence and all of the rhetoric you deployed all voters all opposed to military action in syria, why do you think that is and what makes you think that you know better? >> well, i would never claim personally to quote know better. there is a certain arrogance in that that i learned long ago in american-elected life, it doesn't serve you very well. but i would say that a lot of folks have a visceral reaction
to public people presenting evidence post iraq where they have serious doubts without sort of seeing all the evidence and not everybody has or does and also there is just an instant reaction by a lot of people to say, whoa, here we go again, this is going to be iraq, this is going to be afghanistan and i understand that. i'm very sympathetic to that feeling. if i weren't -- in the administration and i didn't have access to what i have, i'm sure i would have the exact same reaction and i probably would be very questioning of public people. that's why i'm standing up here today, that is why i went to the european community, that is why i will be briefing congress together with other members of the administration and that is why the president will talk to the american people because our responsibility is to share what we know and to lead and to try to bring people to a point where they can agree with us
hopefully. now, i believe that the aftermath of the iraq experience and afghanistan leave a lot of people saying we don't want see our young people coming back in a body bag and so forth. but that is not what we are talking about. and what we have to do is make clear to people that this is -- we are not talking about war. we are not going to war. we will not have people at risk in that way. we will be able to hold bashir asaid accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for syria's civil war and that is what we are talking about doing,
unbelievably small, limited effort. that has been engaged in previously on many different occasions. president regan had a several hours or whatever effort to send the message to qaddafi in the wake i think of pan-103 and other terrorist activities and other times people engaged in making it clear that you have to draw a line and there are consequences for actions when people step over those lines. if you don't draw the lines and the civilized world is not prepared to enforce those lines, you are giving complete license to people to do whatever they want and to feel that they can do so with impunity. if you want to send iran and hezbollah and assad a congratulations message do what you want and say don't do anything.
we believe that is dangerous and we will face this down the road in some more significant way if we are not prepared to take some kind of a stand now. so that's our argument. it's not that i know better or someone knows better. it's an argument that we believe is based on fact, on evidence, on history, and we ask people to take a close look at it and make their own judgments. >> one more question from the american media. >> yes, the question for mr. secretary, sir, now that the british parliament has decided against british participation in a potential military strike in syria, is there any way in which your government might do more in syria by arming the opposition or upgrading, nonlethal material assistance to the rebels or in deference to public opinion at home in your parliament's
decision, is your government standing on the sidelines and providing moral support and sir can you support military action by the obama administration b even if the american congress does not vote for that action and then a question for secretary kerry, sir, with the obama administration consider releasing still more intelligence or perhaps some physical evidence of syrian use which you did not provide to counter the assertions and is there anything that links mr. assad directly to the attack and do you have such information or not and do you think it matters if you don't have such information? thank you. >> on the first part of that question, and you can gather from some of our opening remarks that the uk is heavily engaged and addressing problems thrown up by the crisis in syria and the g-20 nations and organizations and looking at how
we seriously ramp up the humanitarian assistance with new diplomatic efforts on getting humanitarian access which is one of the great problem, this is a regime that actually tries to prevent humanitarian aid getting to its own people in some cases, removes medical supplies or obstructs medical supplies from getting to the right place. so the prime minister convened, the meeting had strong support with the united states. we led the way in the latest round of increased nations to the humanitarian effort with the extra 52 million pounds. the uk is at the forefront with the united states and others of that piece of work. and it will become all the more important in the coming months. we are also doing a great deal to assist the stability of neighboring country, and particularly lebanon and jordan and direct assistance we give to the lebanese armed forces
including jordan and equipment to help them cope on their border. we are heavily engaged at the united nations and all forums in the continuous efforts of a resent months to bring about a geneva two peace process and with the opposition, with the syrian national coalition who i met last week and who we can regard, who are we can regard as a democratic non-secretarian position we give them a great deal of practical nonlethal assistance and including the delivery and resent days of equipment to protect against chemical attack, escape hoods, injections, detector paper to help people survive chemical attacks and doing more of that in the future. as you can see, the united
kingdom is in very many ways trying to bring about working with the united states and allies and trying to bring about a political solution and alleviate the problems there and prevent the spread of the crisis to other countries. involving all of those ways, we are fully respecting the vote in our parliament, on our attitude to a decision in the united states, that is for united states. we have our own constitution and parliamentary complications and rules. we will leave it to the united states to address their issues. these are two great homes, two of the greatest homes of democracy in the world and each work in slightly different ways. and but we each have to respect the way each other's democracy works and we do. john? >> and we do. >> that is for sure.
i don't know, honestly i don't know if the president will make a decision to release more, whether there is a consensus that more needs to be released. we released an unprecedented amount of information and obviously there is a risk in some of this because you can conceivably in certain circumstances compromise your ability to be about to intercept a plot or track what terrorists are thinking about and planning so you have to be very, very careful in those judgments and that is exactly what the intelligence community and it took a while to get to where we are. but, and this is very, very important, but the elected representatives of the american people, members of congress, have a right to go to the intelligence committees and to
the intelligence community and be briefed. so it's not being hidden from people and they can be the judges of the additional intelligence they see or don't see which is how a repickn repu works. with respect to assad, the chemical weapons in syria, we have tracked for some period of time now are controlled in a very tight manner by the assad regime. and it is bashir assad and mirir assad his brother and a general who are the three people who have control over the movement and use of chemical weapons. but under any circumstances, the assad regime is the assad regime. and the regime issues orders and
we have high-level regime that have been caught giving these instructions and engaging in these preparations with results going directly to president assad and we are aware of that. so we have no issue about the question here of responsibility. there is none. the asaid regime is the assad regime and they control the weapons and have a huge stock of these weapons, very threatening level stock that remains. and that is why this issue is of such grateful and so important. and there is no issue whatsoever in the mind of the intelligence community or the administration or certainly in the minds of all those people like senator feinstein and saxby chambliss the ranking member and others who came to the conclusion that
the regime engaged in this activity. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> appreciate it. >> keep your hands off chemical weapons which kill people, the message which the u.s. secretary of state says the world needs to send to the assad regime and the u.s. secretary of state said he was committed to bringing the parties to the table but said if one party believes he can wipe out the people with chemical weapons he will not come to the table and it was echoed by the british foreign secretary saying there is no political solution if they eradicate the opposition, let's bring in lawrence lee to discuss some of what has been said there. first of all we have seen in the last hour-and-a-half four different foreign ministers from four different countries from both sides of the political divide talking about the importance of revising geneva talks but with different perspectives to get to the
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