Chemical weapons are being used in Syria, and in Iraq, to poison and kill civilians, a former US ambassador to Iraq says in a new book.
The use of such weapons in Iraq and Syria has prompted calls for the United States to get rid of them.
John Bolton, who served as the US ambassador under former President George W. Bush, says in his new book that he has spoken with “a number of key figures” who are “confident” of the use of chemical weapons.
Bolton said in a phone interview that he and others have discussed the issue with President Donald Trump.
“It’s a very delicate issue.
The president is not going to abandon it,” Bolton said.
Bolton, an expert on Iraq and Afghanistan and former ambassador to both countries, was nominated to be the new US ambassador for international peace and security in January.
The former Republican congressman from Georgia, who is a staunch supporter of Trump, has been a leading advocate for military action against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad.
Bolton and other US officials have said the use by the Syrian government of chemical agents has caused significant international outrage and led to the use and proliferation of the deadly nerve agent sarin.
In the book, The Coming Collapse, Bolton says he has met with former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the former US Ambassador to Syria Michael O’Hanlon, the US State Department’s special envoy for Syria, former US Secretary of State John Bolton and former US Vice President Joe Biden.
The US is working with Russia to develop a “strategic plan for a political solution to the Syrian conflict,” Bolton wrote.
Bolton added that he was optimistic that the US would “get rid of” the chemical weapons “within a few years.”
He said he believes the United Nations will have a role in this, but it’s up to the international community.
“The international community can do this by agreeing to a cease-fire, a humanitarian agreement, by the time that happens, we will have no longer any need for chemical weapons,” Bolton told Bloomberg TV.
He also said he thinks the use in Iraq by the Iraqi military of chemical munitions is a “grave mistake” and that he hopes the US will consider a diplomatic solution to this issue.