Guterres: no impunity for Syria chemical attack

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Secretary-General António Guterres said that there is a “fundamental need to put an end to this horrific war”, in reference to the six-year Syrian conflict. Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Those responsible for the suspected chemical attack in Syria on Tuesday must be held accountable for their crimes, António Guterres said on Wednesday.

The UN chief, who's in Brussels at a conference to raise funds for humanitarian relief for those affected by the six-year conflict, said that he was confident the UN Security Council "will live up to its responsibilities".

Daniel Johnson has more.

In the wake of the attack on rural Idlib governorate that left at least 70 people dead, UN chief António Guterres said that a "very clear investigation" was needed to remove any doubt about who was responsible.

His comments at the European Union humanitarian pledging conference for Syria come ahead of an emergency UN Security Council meeting prompted by the deadly incident.

Asked by journalists whether the meeting at UN headquarters in New York was a test of its responsibilities, Mr Guterres said it was more "a moment of truth" that he hoped would "mobilise the capacity of all those who have responsibilities in this situation".

"Nobody is winning this war. Everybody is losing, it puts a danger to us all. The fight against terrorism is vital but any successes will be ephemeral without a political solution to the crisis in Syria."

Also condemning the attack, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for increased international cooperation to end the Syrian conflict.

On the issue of humanitarian funding to help millions of refugees from the war, Ms Mogherini announced that that the EU was committed to maintaining funding at current levels this year – amounting to some US $ 560 million – and in 2018 too.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’12″

 

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