United Nations chief warns of "full-blown" military escalation in Syria

United Nations chief warns of

"Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation".

He said Syria represents the most serious threat to worldwide peace and security today and there is no military solution to the conflict.

He said the highly volatile situation risks "escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications".

He cited the Palestinian-Israeli divide, the Sunni-Shia divide "evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean" and other divisive factors reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts. "The solution must be political, through the Geneva Intra-Syrian talks as stipulated in Resolution 2254 of the Security Council and in line with the consistent efforts of my special envoy Steffan de Mistura", Guterres stated.

In remarks to the Security Council in NY, he said: "I appeal to the Security Council to fulfil its duties and not give up on efforts to agree upon a dedicated, impartial, objective and independent mechanism for attributing responsibility with regard to the use of chemical weapons".

Nebenzia said the United States' "consumeristic" approach to the UNSC and repeated "reckless conduct in encroachment of sovereign states and worldwide law" was "unworthy" of its membership to the global organisation.

The UN secretary-general started his speech with the issue of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma.

"Our president has not yet made a decision about possible action in Syria".

A competing draft penned by Russian Federation, which would have established the mechanism for one year as well but would have given the Security Council the responsibility to assign accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, was also not adopted.

"We stress the imperative need to preserve evidence, and call upon all relevant authorities to ensure no party tampers with suspected sites, objects, witnesses, or victims before independent monitors and investigators are able to access the area", it said, noting that inspectors from the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons were due to visit shortly.

The UN Security Council is now holding an emergency session on Syria at Russia's request on Friday.

The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Francois Delattre said that the Assad regime is using chemical weapons to attack its opponents in a pre-determined way.

Haley also said that Russian Federation used its veto power to protect the Assad regime and prevented the punishment of those who use chemical weapons in Syria.

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