United Nations chief says Mideast 'peril' threatens security

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It condemns "in the strongest terms" any use of chemical weapons in Syria and expresses alarm at the alleged incident in Douma last weekend; demands full access and cooperation for the OPCW fact-finding mission; expresses the Council's determination to establish a new impartial and independent attribution mechanism, based on a proposal by the Secretary-General; and requests the Secretary-General to dispatch immediately a high-level disarmament mission to Syria.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his opening remarks urged all members of the Security Council to exercise restraint and avoid escalation in Syria.

Hans Köchler: I'm afraid that it would not make a real impact because it is, as it seems now, for the United States an issue of power politics and for the president of the USA, also an issue to follow up on his bellicose statements.

"I urge the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and fill this gap".

In an earlier statement, the United Nations chief said a new Cold War had begun in the wake of a deadly suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Those "fault lines" also include the Palestinian-Israeli divide as well as the Sunni-Shia divide, evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean.

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France warned that Syria's regime had reached a "point of no return" by using chemical weapons and vowed to confront the "intolerable threat" of such attacks to global security.

"It seems that with the latest developments, the atmosphere has eased somewhat", Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

I have been following closely the reports of air strikes in Syria conducted by the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sustain the response until the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stopped its use of chemical weapons.

After the council failed this week during three votes to agree on a response to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Guterres on Wednesday stressed "the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control" in Syria.

Asked whether Washington has proof Assad launched the attack on Douma, the main city in the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "Yes".

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