G7 FMs united on Syria attacks, Russian interference, Iran

WASHINGTON, Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations on Tuesday were united to condemn the Syrian regime’s chemical attack, Russian interference and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.

“We condemn the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Syrian regime and by the [Islamic State], as confirmed by successive reports of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW-UN) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM),” according to a communique released after the G7 Ministerial meeting in Toronto, Canada.

The foreign ministers backed the response by the United States, the United Kingdom and France to bomb military targets in Syria following the chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held town outside Damascus, calling it “limited, proportionate and necessary.” The ministers expressed deep concern about the escalating violence and “starve or surrender” tactics by the Assad regime, as well as and lack of humanitarian assistance.

They called for an “immediate and full implementation of a nationwide ceasefire” to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations for the sick and wounded. They also condemned the ground offensives and aerial bombardment of Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian regime, supported by Russia and Iran.

They also regretted Russia’s move to veto the renewal of the JIM mandate as well as the recent United Nations Security Council draft resolution aimed to establish an independent investigation for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

They called on Russia to cease “irresponsible and destabilizing” behavior or interfering in countries’ democratic systems, and said they “welcome national action taken to constrain Russian hostile-intelligence activity and to enhance our collective security.” Following the ministerial meetings, US Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan told reporters that Russia was the principal object of the discussion at the G7 ministerial meeting.

“Other countries, such the US, have clearly experienced information and disinformation targeted by Russia. But it’s important to note that we’re not focused exclusively on Russia. Russia’s the problem that we have identified, but there are other potential sources as well.” The ministers united in condemning “in the strongest possible terms” a nerve agent attack on a former Russian intelligence agent in the UK last month, and called on Moscow to address all questions related to the attack.

On Iran, they condemned Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, particularly its support of non-state military actors in Yemen and elsewhere. They noted “deep concern” over a UN report of Iran sending ballistic missile components by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“We call on Iran, as well as on other states in the MENA region, to contribute more actively to reducing tensions in Yemen, complying with all relevant UN resolutions, and to prevent all forms of direct or indirect proliferation of ballistic expertise and missile capabilities,” the communique said.

“We call upon Iran to play a constructive regional role and urge it to cease its unlawful transfers of ballistic missile technology to states and non-state actors.” They also said they remained committed to permanently ensuring Iran’s nuclear program remains “exclusively peaceful” in line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but “deeply regret” Tehran’s ballistic missile tests “which contribute to increased tensions and instability in the region.

Source: Kuwait News Agency