Security Council non-permanent members call for restraint in Syria's Idlib

Publish Time: 2018-09-06 Author: From: Xinhua

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The 10 elected members of the Security Council, informally known as the E10, on Wednesday called for restraint in the Idlib governorate of Syria and for the protection of civilians.

The E10 expressed deep concern about a humanitarian catastrophe in the event of a full-scale military operation in Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, said Joanna Wronecka, Polish ambassador to the United Nations, whose country is the coordinator of the E10 group for September.

The non-permanent members of the Security Council called for efforts to be stepped up by all relevant actors with influence on the ground to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Idlib, she said.

The E10 reiterated the urgent appeal of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Syrian government and all other parties to exercise restraint and to prioritize the protection of civilians, she said.

The 10 countries urged all parties to take all necessary measures to safeguard civilians, allow freedom of movement and protect civilian infrastructure, including medical and educational facilities, said the ambassador, who was flanked by representatives of other E10 members.

The 10 countries called for the full implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2401, which calls for a cease-fire across Syria for 30 days, she said. Resolution 2401, adopted unanimously in February 2018, was never implemented.

The E10 made their position known ahead of a Security Council meeting on Idlib scheduled for Friday.

Announcing the Friday meeting, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday warned against the use of chemical weapons in Idlib, saying U.S. President Donald Trump had made it clear that the country would respond if chemical weapons were used.

"This is a tragic situation, and if they want to continue to go the route of taking over Syria, they can do that. But they cannot do it with chemical weapons. They can't do it assaulting their people and we're not going to fall for it," Haley told reporters.

She said a Security Council meeting had been scheduled for Friday morning so that the council would be acting before a chemical weapons attack would take place.

The United States and its Western allies were threatening Syria with the use of force over allegations that the Syrian government is planning a chemical attack in Idlib.

Damascus read the threats as the Western powers' way to hinder the government forces' planned assault in Idlib under false pretexts of chemical weapons use.

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