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PARIS, April 4 France's foreign minister called
on Tuesday for an emergency meeting of the United Nations
Security Council after what he said was a "disgusting" gas
attack on Syria's rebel-held Idlib province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war
monitor, said a suspected chemical attack by Syrian government
or Russian jets killed at least 58 people, including 11
children, in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.
"A new and particularly serious chemical attack took place
this morning in Idlib province. The first information suggests a
large number of victims, including children. I condemn this
disgusting act," Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement.
"In the face of such serious actions that threaten
international security, I ask for everyone not to shirk their
responsibilities. With this in mind, I ask for an emergency
meeting of the U.N. Security Council," he added.
It was not immediately clear what action France, a permanent
member of the Security Council, wanted to be taken.
France, Britain and the United States in February put
forward a resolution to impose sanctions targeting Syrian
government officials over accusations of chemical weapon attacks
during the six-year conflict.
Russia, backed by China, cast its seventh veto to protect
the Syrian authorities and Russian President Vladimir Putin
described the draft resolution as "totally inappropriate."
Western powers put forward the resolution in response to the
results of an investigation by the U.N. and the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The international inquiry found Syrian government forces
were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic
State militants had used mustard gas.
"The use of chemical weapons constitutes an unacceptable
violation of the convention against chemical weapons and is
another example of the barbarity that the Syrian people have
been under for so many years," Ayrault said.
Before a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss aid for
Syria, Ayrault said Europe could not play a role in the
country's reconstruction without a credible transition.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Adrian