UN chief urges Security Council to respond unitedly to chemical weapon issue in Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-22 10:19:33|Editor: Jiaxin
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UNITED NATIONS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Concerned by the persistent allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday reiterated his call for the UN Security Council to demonstrate unity and resolve on the issue.

"The use of chemical weapons, under any circumstances, is unjustifiable and abhorrent. Equally unjustifiable is a lack of response to such use, if and when it occurs," Stephane Dujarric, his spokesperson, said. "Impunity cannot prevail with respect to such serious crimes."

Guterres was referring to the Security Council's failure to renew the mandate of a joint investigative mechanism of the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in November.

The mechanism, which was authorized by the Security Council to determine who were using chemical weapons in Syria, had to be disbanded after Russia vetoed extending its mandate.

Guterres met OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu Tuesday and reiterated his support for the organization's work in investigating allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria.

Uzumcu was in New York to brief the Security Council on the issue, including the destruction of Syrian chemical production facilities as well as the government's declaration of its chemical weapon stockpiles and facilities.

After the closed-door meeting of the Security Council, Uzumcu said there are several new allegations of chlorine attacks in Syria.

The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria is looking into the alleged incidents, some of which are attributed to the Syrian Government and others to armed opposition groups, he told reporters.

There are also allegations of chemical weapon use in the northern Syrian district of Afrin, where Turkish forces are launching attacks on Kurds. But the OPCW mission could not find credible information to pursue an investigation,Uzumcu said.