AUG 27 - As U.N. inspectors prepare for their second visit to the scene of last week's suspected gas attack in Syria, world leaders are divided over the best response to the crisis. Sunita Rappai reports.
The second U.N. inspection visit to sites of an alleged chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus has been postponed to Wednesday. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has strongly denied carrying out the August 21 assaults, which left hundreds dead and many more injured. But the attacks have drawn threats of military retaliation from Western allies that could turn the tide against him in Syria's two and a half year old conflict. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, said the world had to take action to prevent future chemical attacks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, KEVIN RUDD, SAYING: "I do not believe the world can simply turn a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons against a civilian population resulting in nearly 300 deaths or more, and some 3,600 people hospitalised." Chinese state TV said Foreign Minister Wang Yi supported an independent and objective investigation by U.N. experts but urged caution and a political resolution. Key Assad ally Russia meanwhile said it regretted a decision by Washington to postpone talks on an international peace conference centred on Syria, scheduled for Wednesday in the Hague. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich also urged the world community to be sensible and strictly observe international law. Washington said the U.S. would work with Russia to reschedule Wednesday's meeting.