U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Friday that President Donald Trump "has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria," days after the president appeared to warn of a looming military strike in the country.
"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible actions in Syria," Haley said during an address to the U.N. Security Council in New York. "But should the United States and our allies decide to act in Syria, it will be in defense of a principle on which we all agree. It will be in defense of a bedrock international norm that benefits all nations."
The Trump administration has sent conflicting message on its intended actions on Syria in recent days.
Earlier this week the president appeared to announce plans of a missile strike by warning Russia, an ally to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, to "get ready." But White House officials soon scaled back the remarks, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters Wednesday that the president had not made any "final decisions" yet on Syria. Trump had said on Monday that he would decide on plans for a response to a suspected poison gas attack near Damascus by Tuesday or Wednesday.
The president then again referenced a potential strike against Assad in Syria on Thursday, but declined to lay out a timeline for the military maneuver. “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place," he tweeted. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"
Haley also hammered Moscow at the U.N. for supporting Assad despite the multiple reported chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the country that international watchdogs have attributed to his government. The U.S. diplomat implicated Russia in the recent attack in Syria, criticizing its persistence opposition to international efforts to punish the Assad government.
"It is Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime's multiple uses of chemical weapons," she said. "It is Russia alone that killed the joint investigative mechanism which allowed the world to ensure accountability for chemical weapons use in Syria. It is Russia alone that used its veto six times to prevent the condemnation of Assad's use of chemical weapons."
Russia on Friday pushed back against claims by Western political leaders that Assad perpetrated the attack, accusing the British government of staging the deadly attack that killed dozens according to the Associated Press.
"Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and its cover-ups," Haley told the Security Council on Friday.