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UN chief presses Security Council for action over Syria

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday asked the Security Council to take action to avoid further deterioration of the situation in Syria.

"Today, I called the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council to reiterate my deep concern about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiraling out of control," said Guterres in a statement.

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

"Yesterday, I expressed my outrage at the reports of continued use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. 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," he said, referring to the fact that the Security Council failed to adopt any resolution on chemical weapons use in Syria.

On Tuesday, a US-drafted resolution on a new mechanism investigating chemical weapons use in Syria was vetoed by Russia, whose draft resolution for the same purpose failed to win majority support in the council.

A third text tabled by Russia on the basis of a Swedish document also failed to be adopted over the weekend. The document aims to find common ground in the Security Council for an outcome in support of an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria.

Guterres' statement came after US President Donald Trump threatened to launch a missile attack on Syria.

Trump ordered a strike on a Syrian airbase last year after a chemical weapons attack was blamed on the Syrian government.

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