UN chief urges accountability for use of chemical weapons in Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-13 12:21:32|Editor: ying
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UNITED NATIONS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday urged accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria when meeting with Edmond Mulet, the head of a panel to lead such investigations.

Guterres met the three-member panel leading the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in New York.

"They (the panel members) emphasized their resolve to pursue the investigations of the Um Housh and Khan Shaykhun incidents in a thorough, independent, impartial and professional manner," said the Office of the Spokesperson for UN in a readout.

The JIM was created by the Security Council to identify "to the greatest extent feasible" individuals, entities, groups or governments perpetrating, organizing, sponsoring or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria.

Last week, the panel briefed the council on their most recent work. Mulet later told reporters that the JIM was currently investigating two incidents in which chemical weapons were allegedly used: the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun in north- western Syria and another incident in Um Housh last September.

The alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun killed over 80 people. Washington accused the Syrian government forces of carrying out that chemical attack, while the Syrian government denied the charges and blamed the rebels.

Additionally, the Um Housh incident proved to be a mustard gas attack which injured two women. Locals blamed the Islamic State (IS) for the use of banned weapons.

At the meeting, Guterres urged all nations to support the JIM's investigation.

"The Secretary-General further emphasized that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law and that those individuals responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable," the readout said.

"The Secretary-General stated that the international community must act robustly to address these crimes and ensure respect for the international regime banning the use of chemical weapons," it added.