Carney Defends Credibility After Assad Claims

ABC's Jonathan Karl questions White House spokesman on accuracy of claims about Syrian president.
4:30 | 09/19/13

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Transcript for Carney Defends Credibility After Assad Claims
-- the presidents. Ambassador at large for war crimes issues. Stephen -- -- yesterday. President. Aside should absolutely be charged for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Is it the policy of the US government its Assad should be charged for war crimes. There is no doubt that the Asad regime is responsible for crimes against humanity and violation of the laws of war. Since the regime began its brutal campaign against the Syrian people the United States has been clear that those responsible for the atrocities in Syria. Must be held accountable. We have worked to support efforts by the international community. To gather evidence that could help build the foundation for future efforts to hold accountable those responsible for those atrocities in Syria. And these efforts include. The UN independent commission -- -- on Syria established by the UN Human Rights Council and the Syrian justice and accountability center an independent organization. That the -- -- international community established in 2012. You know so it's our view that the side and his regime -- responsible. Where these and we have undertaken all these efforts that I just described so are you saying it is the policy that Assad should be charged for war crimes. Again our position is that those responsible for the atrocities in Syria atrocities that are clearly crimes against humanity. Must be held accountable. Syria itself has not an ICC state party and we have seen that there is no realistic prospect that the Security Council will refer the Syrian situation to the ICC. Or agreed to establish a UN tribunal as was done for the former Yugoslavia -- -- want to. But. We still believe -- Those -- Possible -- -- atrocities must be held accountable. So I ask -- residents say at least twice over the past week from that podium you said it -- sought any network interview. Claimed that he did not have chemical weapons we'll be talking about and -- that he has he has. Prior to the agreement by the Syrian government -- the government to. The Russian proposition agreed to with the United States that this -- would give up his chemical weapons they have insisted for. Years that they do not possess chemical weapons and when asked they have demurred or refuse to answer or said at different times that they don't have them. I don't think anybody doubts that that was their position and that -- change. In the wake of the threat the credible threat of US force in response to -- -- use of chemical weapons and the developments that we've seen since -- You -- I've said before you never it's important credibility to do -- fax written policy. So I'm just asking -- isn't so -- twice. You said the most recent one was just on one day. President aside in a taped interview. Appeared on network claiming Syria did not have chemical weapons he said we know. -- I don't have a transcript of the interview there's no question -- -- here he did not in fact he's exactly the opposite he said. We never said it we have it and he never said that we don't well now you say okay -- he's done. -- -- OK everybody you speak accurately what was that an accurate I -- Concede having not seen the transcript recently -- He did not. Taking your report say we don't have them he refused to answer the question and for twenty years Syria refused to answer the question if it is now ABC's position that in fact Syria has all along. -- he's admitted issue. I'm trying to get I think whether or not you're speaking accurately from the podium and if you want to crack Harlow -- a -- this latest -- think that he's never said what we're the other. It -- otherwise there's you know and -- hundred credibility five nations in the world. Syria among them have refused to sign -- chemical weapons convention. So what -- -- -- -- -- last week what was clear from that interview and I accept your. The time you spent dissecting these words but I accept that. That this aside did not. -- admit that he has chemical weapons nor did he deny that he had them. What the world has known for twenty years since -- BC was open for signatories is that Syria would not. Admit to having stockpiles of chemical weapons even though the world knew they have them. And that that changed because. The pressure placed on Syria by the United States. And its allies.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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