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Russia to convoke Security Council meeting soon, UN Secretary General to attend — envoy

According to Western media reports, the meeting could be held on Friday

UN, April 12. /TASS/. Russia will soon convoke a UN Security Council meeting with the participation of the international organization’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, to discuss the situation in Syria and US threats against the Damascus government, Russia’s UN envoy said on Thursday.

"We said that it would be appropriate that we have an open briefing in the Security Council with the participation of the secretary general because when we find ourselves in a situation of a threat to international peace and security this is exactly the time when we need where we need to hold it openly and with the participation of the secretary general of the organization. I cannot give you an exact hour but it will be soon," Vasily Nebenzya told reporters after a Security Council meeting held behind closed doors.

He said that although Guterres is free to attend any Security Council meeting, his participation in the upcoming meeting on Syria would be vital due to complexity of the situation.

Diplomatic sources told AFP that the Russia has requested the session to be held on Friday. 

Nebenzya said the international community’s main priority should be preventing the war in Syria against the background of Washington’s threats, adding that a direct military standoff between Russia and the United States cannot be ruled out in current circumstances.

"The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war," he said.

When asked whether he meant war between Russia and the United States, the Russian diplomat replied: "We cannot exclude any possibilities, unfortunately, because we saw messages that are coming from Washington, they were very bellicose."

"They know we are there [in Syria]," he continued. "I wish there was dialogue through appropriate channels on this to avert any dangerous developments."

At the same time, Nebenzya described the scenario under which the US strikes Russian forces in Syria as "unthinkable."

"We want any strikes to be avoided in the first place but, of course, it is even unthinkable to think that the US would strike something which is Russian military presence in Syria," the Russian envoy said.

The UN Security Council held a meeting behind closed doors on Thursday to discuss the situation in Syria and US President Donald Trump’s threats against the Syrian government. Commenting on the meeting, Nebenzya said that Washington and its allies "preferred to focus on other things pretending as if there was no threat to international peace and security even avoiding mentioning the issue which is the most pressing one at all."

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said that Washington had "a lot of options militarily" on Syria referring to the alleged use of chemical agents in Douma, a city located close to Damascus. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that unsubstantiated allegations of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government troops were aimed at justifying military strikes from outside. The Russian Defense Ministry likewise refuted reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian troops.

Nebenzya said that such threats are a violation of the international law and the UN charter.

"Even the threat of a use of force is a violation of the UN Charter. Let alone the strike itself," he said.

"We are very concerned with the situation, with the dangerous escalation, with the we hope that there will be no point of no return. That the US and their allies will refrain from military action against a sovereign state," the Russian diplomat added.