Monday, September 27, 2021

UN secretary-general says Cold War back with a vengeance

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (C) listens as diplomats speak during an United Nations Security Council meeting called by Russia in response to the escalating situation in Syria following suspected chemical weapons attack at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, USA, 13 April 2018. The suspected chemical attack took place last weekend in the Damascus suburb of Douma, killing at least 49 people. EFE

United Nations, Apr 13 (EFE).- The secretary-general of the United Nations said Friday that the Cold War has returned with a vengeance and that the situation in Syria currently poses the biggest threat to international peace and security.

Antonio Guterres made his remarks to the UN Security Council during a meeting called by Russia to discuss heightened tensions in Syria.

The situation in that Middle Eastern country is at a boiling point amid the United States’ threats to carry out missile strikes in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by Damascus’ forces last weekend.

The situation in the Middle East is chaotic, Guterres said.

“The Cold War is back with a vengeance, but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risk of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present,” he added.

Guterres said global powers needed to launch a new mission for investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The previous mission’s mandate expired last November and was not renewed due to a Russian veto.

Impunity for the use of chemical warfare agents will encourage future attacks with banned weapons and weaken the entire international, non-proliferation architecture, the secretary-general said.

For her part, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused Russia at the meeting of enabling its close ally Syria to use chemical weapons with impunity.

“Who is it on the (Security) Council that most exhibits unilateralism when it comes to chemical weapons? It is Russia alone that has stopped at nothing to defend the Syrian regime’s multiple uses of chemical weapons,” Haley said.
Russia, however, says the purported chemical weapons attack last weekend in Douma, a town east of Damascus, was staged.

A Russian military spokesperson said Friday that the Defense Ministry had evidence pointing to the United Kingdom’s direct participation in organizing “this provocation in Eastern Ghouta.”