International bodies are scrambling to meet in the wake of the US-led strike against Syria, which was conducted without a UN mandate, just hours before the OPCW was to begin its on-site inquiry into the Douma gas attack.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to rain missiles down on Damascus in the early hours of Saturday, along with the UK and France, was not sanctioned by the United Nations, and bypassed an on-the-ground fact-finding mission into the alleged April 7 gas attack in Eastern Ghouta. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was scheduled to begin its on-site investigation on Saturday.
Numerous international bodies and governments are now convening to take stock of the situation.
Moscow calls for emergency UN Security Council session
Moscow has called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss “the aggressive actions of the US and its allies,” according to a Kremlin statement. The meeting will be held Saturday afternoon, according to Reuters.
The strikes represent an “an aggression against a sovereign state which is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement released on Saturday. Putin stressed that the multi-national strikes were carried out “in violation of the UN Charter and principles of international law” and will have “a devastating impact on the whole system of international relations.”
Moscow repeatedly warned the US and its allies against attacking Syria, urging instead for an impartial investigation into the alleged chemical attack.
Responding to the US-led airstrikes on Damascus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that all countries are obliged to “act consistently” with the UN Charter. “There’s an obligation, particularly when dealing with the matters of peace and security, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nationals and with international law in general.”
EU foreign ministers to “consult each other” on strikes
Foreign ministers of 28 EU states will meet on April 16 in Luxembourg to discuss the US-led strikes, according to Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. “EU foreign ministers will have the opportunity to consult each other on this situation at a meeting of the Council to be held on Monday,” Reynders said. He added that while he understood the justification behind the strikes, it was nonetheless “important to establish mechanisms to prevent this in the future and resume dialogue.”
Defense alliance NATO to discuss offensive Syria strikes
NATO ambassadors will hold a meeting in Brussels on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Syria, according to a statement released by NATO headquarters.
“I support the actions by the US, UK and France against the #Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities and capabilities,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter shortly after the strikes were launched. “#NATO considers the use of chemical weapons unacceptable. Those responsible must be held accountable.”
I support the actions by the US, UK and France against the #Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities and capabilities. #NATO considers the use of chemical weapons unacceptable. Those responsible must be held accountable. https://t.co/HPQ4YpTT7Y
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) April 14, 2018
May to ‘update’ Parliament on strikes it wasn’t allowed to debate
British Prime Minister Theresa May will update Parliament on the strikes, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told BBC radio. The missile attack was not approved by lawmakers, with the prime minister claiming that there was “no alternative” to striking Syria and that the attack was “right and legal.”
Collective Security Treaty Organization to convene emergency meeting
Russia convened on Saturday an emergency meeting of the permanent council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to discuss the situation in Syria, the CSTO press service said. The CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
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