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PACE may address Syrian issue in urgent debates this autumn

September 02, 2013, 23:04 UTC+3

The proposal was put forth by the head of the Russian delegation

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Alexei Pushkov, photo ITAR-TASS / Mitya Aleshkovsky

Alexei Pushkov, photo ITAR-TASS / Mitya Aleshkovsky

MOSCOW, September 2 (Itar-Tass) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may address the issue of Syrian crisis in urgent debates during its autumn session, the press service of the Russian delegation to the organisation said on Monday, September 2.

The proposal was put forth by the head of the Russian delegation, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov at a meeting of the PACE Bureau in Dubrovnik, Croatia. “The proposal was supported by several members of the PACE leadership and now, after it has been discussed by PACE party groups, it will most likely be included in the agenda,” the press service said.

The Bureau condemned the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria which, on August 21, caused the death of hundreds of people, including a large number of children. “Any use of chemical weapons anywhere by anybody, under any circumstances, constitutes a violation of international law and a crime against humanity,” the Bureau said in a statement.

It called on the international community “to take action to pressurise those countries which have not yet done so to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention” and also called for “urgent action to bring the stocks of chemical weapons in Syria under international control to prevent access to them by those supporting or opposing the current Government.”

The Bureau recalled that in its Resolutions 1878 (2012) on the situation in Syria and 1902 (2012) on the European response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Assembly urged a political solution to the conflict in Syria. “Today, more than a year and a half later, the escalation of violence makes the need for a diplomatic process more urgent than ever. All parties concerned, both inside and outside the country, should, without further delay, move beyond their differences towards a peace conference on Syria. The use of arms can never lead to sustainable peace and is therefore not an option; only a political solution can put an end to the spiral of violence, but also to the dramatic situation of refugees and displaced persons,” the statement said.

The Bureau of the Assembly said it was particularly “appalled” by the huge number of refugees, especially of children, forced to flee Syria which, according to U.N. estimates, has reached one million. It urged the provision of unhindered humanitarian assistance to the wounded, refugees, displaced persons and all those in need both in Syria and in the neighbouring countries.

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