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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister: Strikes on Syria fraught with unpredictable consequences

August 28, 2013, 21:47 UTC+3

Gatilov warned that if force was used against Syria in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council, this would be a gross violation of international law

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Gennady Gatilov, photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Mashkov

Gennady Gatilov, photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Mashkov

THE HAGUE, August 28 (Itar-Tass) - Strikes on Syria in violation of the U.N. Charter will have unpredictable consequences, Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“We know such cases [in circumvention of the U.N. Charter] from the past and if this is done [again], this will be a violation of all norms and principles of international law and the U.N. Charter. This will have the most unpredictable consequences for both the situation in Syria and the region as a whole,” Gatilov told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, August 28.

“At the conference in The Hague many of our partners suggested that the U.N. inspection should continue, that the experts should be allowed to work calmly and present their findings for making further decisions,” the diplomat said. “They are seriously concerned about the developments and possible unilateral use of force in circumvention of U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

Gatilov warned that if force was used against Syria in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council, this would be a gross violation of international law.

“Certain states are ready to use force even before U.N. experts make public the results of their investigation. Our country will be committed to international law,” he said. “Modern international law allows the use of force only in exceptional cases: for self-defence and if so authorised by the U.N. Security Council. Some states see priorities in a distorted way.”

Gatilov welcomed Syria’s decision to receive U.N. chemical weapons inspectors and said it would create a positive background for settlement in the country.

“The agreement with the visit to Syria by U.N. inspectors indicates Damascus’ readiness to clarify the situation concerning the use of chemical weapons. This creates a positive background for commencing a political process to resolve the crisis in Syria,” he said.

On August 14, Syria agreed to receive U.N. inspectors for a probe into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country. By agreement with the Syrian government they will investigate three such instances at the same time.

On August 28, U.N. experts visited Zamalka, an eastern suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus, where chemical weapons were allegedly used, the Sky News television channel said.

On the first day of their work on August 26, the U.N. inspectors took samples at the site of an alleged chemical attack and talked with survivor and witnesses.

The Team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, is spending up to 14 days, with a possible extension, probing the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Government at Khan al-Asal, as well as two other allegations reported by Member States. The team is working in cooperation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) and the U.N. World Health Organisation (WHO).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the use of any chemical weapons in Syria would amount to a “crime against humanity” and there would be “serious consequences” for the perpetrators.

“Any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law,” he said on Friday, August 23. “Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator.”


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