UN Chief Presses Security Council For Action Over Syria

Javier Stokes
April 15, 2018

Due largely to divisions among its five permanent members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA the Council could not adopt three draft resolutions that would have responded to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma almost a week ago.

The Secretary General said that France had submitted a proposal to restrict the veto in resolutions on crimes against humanity. "I urge the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and fill this gap", he said.

"The Cold War is back - with a vengeance but with a difference", Guterres told the Security Council during a meeting requested by Russian Federation.

He cited the Palestinian-Israeli divide, the Sunni-Shia divide "evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean" and other divisive factors reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts.

"There are no military solutions to the crisis in Syria", Guterres said.

"We continue to observe unsafe military preparations for an illegal act of force against a sovereign state", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council.

He referred to Washington's latest statements on Syria as well as to USA interventions in recent years in both Iraq and Libya.

"For eight long years the people of Syria have endured suffering upon suffering".

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"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria".

Missile strikes of the United States, France and British on Syria have drawn a conflicting response from allies and foes of the Syrian government.

Under a 2013 US-Russia deal that averted US-led strikes, Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which bans the use of the toxic gases in warfare.

During the meeting, Britain's permanent representative to the United Nations Karen Pierce said that Russian actions regarding Syria are "the latest in a pernicious chronology of disregard for worldwide law" by Moscow.

Guterres' interview with Al Arabiya came just hours before the United States, Britain and France launched targeted air strikes on Syria after the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma weeks earlier left 40 people killed.

He expressed outrage at reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and regretted the SC has been unable to reach agreement on a resolution on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"Having the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear-weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women's shelter", said Neuer.

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