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Ratas: Chemical attack blatant violation of international law

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center). Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

According to Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the chemical attack of the Assad regime against Syria's own civilians is a blatant violation of international law and clearly demonstrates that the current course of action has not brought a solution to the Syrian conflict.

"The international community naturally cannot not react here," a government press release quoted Ratas as saying in response to Tuesday's chemical attack. "At the same time, all efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict in the UN Security Council have unfortunately been unsuccessful due to Russia's opposition. According to our information, the U.S.' intervention was based first and foremost on the goal of blocking the use of military infrastructure for the Assad regime's crimes against humanity and war crimes."

According to the prime minister, the U.S. administration has confirmed that this was a one-off action. "Now the question is what Assad's next step will be and how Russia will act," he noted. "The chemical attack demonstrates that efforts to fully remove chemical weapons from Syria have been unsuccessful."

Commenting on Estonian MEP Yana Toom's comments, Ratas stressed the fact that the entire government combined bears the responsibility of governing the Estonian state. "There are no grounds for doubting the competences of members of the government," he said. "I recognize Minister of Foregin Affairs Sven Mikser's efforts in defending and promoting the foreign policy interests of Estonia.

"The Syrian conflict has lasted for an unacceptably long time and the humanitarian crisis has taken on huge dimensions," he continued. "Nearly half a million people have died, over five million are refugees in other countries, and there are 13.5 million internally displaced persons. The international community must work decisively toward a resolution to the Syrian crisis and finally reach a real outcome. We need a solution without chemical attacks in which innocent people, including children, die, and war criminals need to be held accountable."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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