'The Cold War is back with a vengeance,' warns United Nations chief Guterres

UN chief warns 'Cold War is back' as Syria strikes loom

UN chief warns 'Cold War is back' as Syria strikes loom

"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.

Antnio Guterres made the appeal late on Friday evening just hours after the United States, France and Britain launched air strikes targeting sites associated with the country's chemical weapons capabilities.

He went on to stress that the UN Security Council, of which the three countries are permanent members, "has primary responsibility for the maintenance of global peace and security". "I urge the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and fill this gap", he said.

And in what appears to be implicit criticism of Israel for its use of force against protesters, Guterres said, "The recent violence in Gaza has resulted in many needless deaths and injuries". The suffering it causes is horrendous.

Guterres remarks came after the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which was created as a body to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2015, expired in November previous year.

"I have repeatedly expressed my deep disappointment that the Security Council failed to agree on a dedicated mechanism for effective accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria".

In Yemen, which faces the world's worst humanitarian crisis, Guterres called for a negotiated political settlement to the three-year stalemated war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is deepening again, he said.

It vowed in its statement that the fact-finding mission due to go to Douma later Saturday "will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma".

In his briefing to the Council, the United Nations chief warned that "increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation".

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