Saturday, April 14, 2018

Security Council rejects Russian request to condemn airstrikes in Syria

In an address to an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned against the crisis in Syria “spiraling out of control."

The meeting was held following overnight airstrikes in Syria launched by the United States, with support from France and the United Kingdom, which targeted installations connected to the country’s chemical weapons capabilities.

It was called by Russia which failed to get the other 14 Council members to adopt a resolution condemning the airstrikes.

Speaking prior to the vote on the draft resolution, the Secretary-General urged countries to avoid actions that would escalate the situation in Syria and worsen the suffering of its people.

“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,” he told ambassadors, echoing a statement issued in the wake of the airstrikes.

“As I did yesterday, I stress the need to avoid the situation from spiraling out of control," he continued, referring to a meeting held on Friday, one of five times the Council met this week to take up the question of Syria.

The US and its allies launched the airstrikes in response to last week’s suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said its partners reported some 500 people there had exhibited “signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.”

“More than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals,” according to an agency statement on Wednesday.

The airstrikes were reportedly limited to three military locations, but the Secretary-General said the UN is unable to independently verify these details or if there were any casualties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the airstrikes as “an act of aggression,” the country’s representative informed the Council. - Read More


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