China Condemns Syrian Airstrikes, Germany/Italy Refuse To Participate
While the western community has been broadly supportive of the overnight strikes launched against Syria by the US, UK and France, two prominent members have either refused to participate or outright oppose them.
As we first reported last week, Germany (along with Italy) refused to be an active member of the strikes. On Saturday morning, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the country won’t participate in military actions against Syria, according to an interview in news magazine Spiegel.
"This is not the role that we - in coordination with our partners - want to play in this conflict.” Although, he added that he understands the view of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said use of chemical weapons "crosses a line" and added that "The use of chemical weapons must stop and can’t be without consequences."
Angela Merkel was similarly supportive: "We support that our American, British and French allies, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, have taken responsibility in this way," the Chancellor said in statement... just not enough to take part in the strikes that she knew would prompt a response from Putin.
Italy also rushed to made it clear to the Kremlin it was not an active participant: Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a televised address that the reaction to alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria was measured, and should not mark the beginning of escalation in the region. He then added that while Italy is an ally of the participants, the country didn’t participate; and while Italy usually gives logistical help, in this case Italy did not provide.
Perhaps the reason for this reticence is that the two nations most reliant on Russian nat gas imports, realized that they don't want to be especially cold this coming winter.
Meanwhile, China was less diplomatic and shortly after the strikes began, Beijing voiced opposition to US-led air strikes against Syrian military targets on Saturday and called for talks, adding that the Western operation had complicated efforts to find a solution to the crisis.
"Any unilateral military action violates the United Nations charter and its principles and international law and its principles. [The strikes] are also going to add more factors to complicate the resolution of the Syrian crisis," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
Beijing also called for an investigation into claims of a Syrian poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma that rescuers and monitors say killed more than 40 people, and prompted the Western action.
“The Chinese side believes a comprehensive, impartial and objective investigation should be conducted into the suspected chemical attacks and it should come up with reliable conclusions ... Before this, no conclusion by any side should be made,” Hua said.
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