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Updated On: Monday, 23 July 2018
Development Issues

Security Council Stalemate on Syria Attack

Content by: South-South News

16 April 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — At the request of Russia, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on April 14 in the aftermath of the joint US, UK and France’s air strikes against Syria. Its draft resolution condemning the strikes failed to gain enough positive votes and – in any case – was opposed by the three nations that led the strike, which all have veto power.

Opening the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Security Council to “show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.” He said, “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, it is my duty to remind Member States that there is an obligation, particularly when dealing with matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general” adding in “the UN Charter is very clear on these issues.”

Guterres also said, “The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I call on the members of the Security Council to unite and exercise that responsibility. I urge all Member States to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people.”

In response to the suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma on April 7, in the early hours of April 14, United States, United Kingdom and France fired missiles on three sites in Syria, where Syrian authorities allegedly produce and keep chemical weapons.

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia once again disputed claims that a chemical attack took place.

Nebenzia said, “Russian military experts have not found any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent at the incident’s site. Not a single local resident was able to confirm the fact that a chemical attack had actually taken place.”

Russian ambassador also said, “In a sign of cynical disdain, a group of western countries decide to take a military action without waiting for results of the investigation. Russia condemns in a strongest possible term the attack against Syria where the Russian military personnel is assisting the legitimate government in fight against terrorism.”

US ambassador Nikki Haley reminded that Russia has vetoed six draft resolutions on Syria and added, “Just as Russia was using its veto, the Assad regime was using sarin, using to dozens of injuries and deaths. Russia’s veto was the green light to for the Assad regime to use these most barbaric weapons against the Syrian people in complete violation of the international law,” adding “the United States and our allies were not going to let that stand. Chemical weapons are threat to us all.”

Haley also said she spoke earlier with the US President Trump who said “if the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again the United States is locked and loaded.”

She underlined “when our president draws the red line, our president enforces the red line.”

Karen Pierce, the UK ambassador to the United Nations, said, “The Syrian regime has been killing its own people for seven years. Its use of chemical weapons which has exacerbated the human suffering is a serious crime of international concern as a breach of customary international law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and it amounts to war crime and crime against humanity.”

Pierce also said “any state is permitted under international law on an exceptional basis to take measures in order to alleviate the overwhelming humanitarian suffering.”

French ambassador Francois Delattre said his country has no doubt Assad’s regime is behind the chemical attack.

Delattre said, “In the face of this attack on the principles and values and the laws underpinning the action of the United Nations, the silence was no longer a solution. We cannot no longer tolerate the trivialization of the use of chemical weapons which presents an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to our collective security.”

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