UNSC must prevent Syria spiralling out of control: United Nations chief

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Guterres' statement followed US President Donald Trump's threat to launch a missile strike on Syria.

In his reaction to the missile strikes, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all countries to act consistently with the UN Charter and worldwide law.

Terming any use of chemical weapons as "abhorrent", the United Nations head said: "The suffering it causes is horrendous".

"I have also been closely following developments in the Security Council and regret that the Council has so far been unable to reach agreement on this issue", Guterres said in a statement.

After the United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of strikes against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime on April 14, 2018 in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that France fired cruise missiles from frigates in the Mediterranean and deployed fighter jets from home bases as part of its strikes.

"The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of global peace and security".

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"Let us not forget that, ultimately, our efforts must be about ending the awful suffering of the Syrian people", said Guterres in a statement.

Guterres had termed the use of chemical weapons as "abhorrent", saying the suffering it causes is "horrendous".

French Ambassador Francois Delattre told the Security Council meeting that world powers must respond to the threat of repeated use of toxic gas as a weapon in Syria's war. I will continue to engage with Member States to help achieve this objective.

"In Syria, we see confrontations and proxy wars involving several national armies, a number of armed opposition groups, many national and worldwide militia, foreign fighters from everywhere in the world, and various terrorist organisations", he added.

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. "Let us not forget that, ultimately, our efforts must be about ending the bad suffering of the Syrian people", he added.

Two groups of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday, Syria's Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said.

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