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Trump leads international chorus of condemnation

  • Thu, 06 Apr 2017 15:05
Author: 
REUTERS, AFP, AP
Thu, 2017-04-06 03:00
ID: 
1491426217852330400

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday described a poison gas attack in Syria as “horrible” and “unspeakable” and called it a “terrible affront to humanity.”
Asked during a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdallah in the Oval Office whether he was formulating a new policy toward Syria, Trump told reporters: “You’ll see.”
UN chief Antonio Guterres said the attack shows war crimes continue in Syria.
“The horrific events … demonstrate unfortunately that war crimes are going on in Syria (and that) international humanitarian law is being violated frequently,” Guterres said as he went to a Syria aid conference in Brussels.
Guterres said the UN wanted to establish accountability for such crimes and he was “confident the UN Security Council will live up to its responsibilities.”
Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the attack “a major crime.”
“Targeting and killing civilians with these prohibited methods is considered a major crime and a barbaric act,” Aboul Gheit said. “Whoever carried it out will not escape from justice, and must be punished by the international community according to international law and international humanitarian law,” the Arab League chief said, without specifying who he held responsible.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership at the end of 2011 following months of brutal repression of anti-regime demonstrations and an opposition movement supported by Gulf countries.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government condemns in the strongest possible terms the chemical weapons attack against civilians, including children.
He said in a statement that the use of chemical weapons is “illegal and abhorrent.”
He said: “While the full facts are still to be determined, if the Assad regime is responsible for this attack those who approved and deployed these weapons must be held accountable.”
Meanwhile, Iran suggested the blame for the attack may lie more with “terrorist groups” than the Syrian regime.
“Iran strongly condemns all use of chemical weapons regardless of who is responsible and who are the victims,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi.
However, he said it was necessary to avoid “rushed judgments and accusations that benefit... certain actors.”
Ghassemi emphasized that “terrorist groups” have been known to transfer, store and use chemical weapons in Syria.
“Ignoring the need for the chemical disarmament of armed terrorist groups has harmed the process of chemically disarming Syria (as a whole) and Iran has raised its concerns about this on several occasions,” he said.
Separately, Pope Francis said: “We watch horrified as the latest events in Syria unfold. I completely deplore the unacceptable massacre that took place in Idlib province, where dozens of defenseless people, including many children, were killed.”

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