Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Blok calls for quick ceasefire in Syria, rejects sanctions against Russian Federation

Blok calls for quick ceasefire in Syria, rejects sanctions against Russian Federation

The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering additional economic sanctions on Russian Federation over Moscow's support of the Syrian government following a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus, according to the White House.

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site".

The British envoy to the OPCW said the body had recorded 390 allegations of the use of banned chemicals in Syria since 2014, and that a failure by the OPCW to act risked allowing "further barbaric use of chemical weapons".

Mr Lavrov also questioned why the U.S. and its allies carried out air strikes the day before global inspectors were due to arrive at the site.

A team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria to investigate the Douma incident and was expected to visit the town. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the British accusation that Russian Federation was to blame for holding up the inspections was "groundless".

Haley said the measures would target companies that supplied Damascus with equipment and other material related to chemical weapons, which killed more than 40 people in Douma on April 7 and prompted US-led airstrikes.

For the near future, the strikes suggest that the White House has no intention of withdrawing 2,000 US troops now in Syria, as Trump suggested on April 4 that he intends to do.

She did not say why sanctions would be imposed but the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday that the United States is preparing new sanctions on Russian Federation over its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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"The Russian financial market will remain extremely nervous and volatile - with a short-term focus on the scale and rhetoric of the new USA sanctions", analysts at Societe Generale SA's Russian unit including Yury Tulinov said in a research note.

The military action is not about intervening in Syria's civil war or changing its government, she said. "But it was the world saying that we've had enough of the use of chemical weapons".

The organisation, which needs a two-thirds majority to take decisions, has been undermined by political divisions over the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

Douma, in the eastern Goutha district, was one of the last bastions near Damascus of rebels fighting to topple Assad, and the alleged attack took place amid a ferocious government offensive.

He said: "I'm afraid the Syrian war will go on in its awful, miserable way".

Alongside sanctions expected on Monday, the USA has launched strikes against Syria alongside the United Kingdom and France, with more than 100 missiles launched at three targets on Friday in a move Trump tweeted about on Saturday suggesting that the strikes meant it was "mission accomplished" in Syria.

The allies could not wait "to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks", according to excerpts of her speech.

The US, Britain and France launched a series of air strikes against Syrian government targets in the early hours of Saturday in retaliation for the alleged gas attack. The Western leaders also faced scrutiny at home over their actions.

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