Saturday 26 May 2018

Russia’s stance left allies with no option on Syria airstrikes – Nato chief

Jens Stoltenberg said all diplomatic and political moves to address the issue had been blocked by Russia at the UN.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Erik Luntang/Nato/PA)
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (Erik Luntang/Nato/PA)

By Associated Press Reporter

Russian efforts to veto UN action against Syria left US, British and French allies no option but to launch airstrikes against key installations, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

After a debriefing of Nato ambassadors by the three allies on Saturday, Mr Stoltenberg said that “before the attack took place last night, Nato allies exhausted all other possible ways to address this issue to the UNSC by diplomatic and political means”.

He added: “But since this was blocked by Russia, there was no other alternative.”

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The Syrian Scientific Research Centre which was attacked in the airstrikes (Hassan Ammar/AP)

Mr Stoltenberg said: “I am not saying that the attacks last night solved all problems but compared to the alternative to do nothing this was the right thing to do.”

He said all 29 Nato members backed the airstrikes as a consequence of the country conducting a suspected chemical attack against its civilians last weekend.

The strikes were about making sure that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity, he added.

But Russia branded the airstrike an act of “hooliganism” and called for a vote on a UN resolution to condemn “the aggression” against Syria.

It was defeated at the end of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russia.

It demanded that military action stop “immediately and without delay”.

Press Association

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