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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 14, 2018 4:30pm-5:01pm BST

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weapons from syria. the or chemical weapons from syria. the united states, france and the united kingdom acted after careful evaluation of these facts. the targets we selected were at the heart of the syrian regime's illegal chemical weapons programme. the strikes were carefully planned to minimise civilian casualties. the responses were justified, legitimate and proportionate. we did not give diplomacyjust one chance, we gave diplomacy chance after chance, six at times, that is how many at times russia vetoed security council resolutions to address chemical weapons in syria. our weapons —— address chemical weapons in syria. ourweapons —— our address chemical weapons in syria. our weapons —— our efforts go back even further. in 2013, the 0ur weapons —— our efforts go back even further. in 2013, the security council passed a resolution that required the assad regime to destroy
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a stockpile of chemical weapons. syria committed to abide by the chemical weapons convention meaning it could no longer have chemical weapons on its soil. president putin said russia would guarantee that syria complied. we hoped that this diplomacy would succeed in putting an end to the horror of chemical attacks in syria. but as we see from the past year, that did not happen. while russia was busy protecting the regime, assad took notice. the regime, assad took notice. the regime knew it could act with impunity. and it did. in november, russia used its veto to kill the joint investigative mechanism, the main tool we had to figure out who used chemical weapons in syria. just as russia was using its veto, the assad regime used sarin, leading to dozens assad regime used sarin, leading to d oze ns of assad regime used sarin, leading to dozens of injuries and deaths. russia's veto was the green light for the assad regime to use these
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most barbaric weapons against the syrian people, in complete violation of international law. the united states and our allies were not going to let that stand. chemical weapons area to let that stand. chemical weapons are a threat to us all. they are a unique threat, a type of weapons so evil that the international community agreed they must be banned. we cannot stand by and let russia trash every international norm that we stand for and allow the use of chemical weapons to go unanswered. and just as the syrian regime's use of chemical weapons last weekend was not an isolated incident, our response is part of a new course charted last year to deter future use of chemical weapons. 0ur deter future use of chemical weapons. our syrian deter future use of chemical weapons. 0ur syrian strategy has not changed. however, the syrian regime has forced us to take action based on their repeated use of chemical weapons. since the april 2017
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chemical attack at khan shaykhun, the united states has imposed hundreds of sanctions on individuals and entities involved in chemical weapons use in syria and north korea. we have designated entities in asia, the middle east and africa that have facilitated chemical weapons proliferation. we have revoked the visas of russian intelligence officers in response to the chemical attack in salisbury and we will continue to see out and to call that anyone who uses and anyone who aid in the use of chemical weapons. with yesterday's military action, our message was crystal clear. the united states of america will not allow the assad regime to continue to use chemical weapons. last night, we obliterate it a major research facility that it used to assemble weapons of mass murder. dish we obliterate it. i spoke to the present this morning and he said
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if the syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the united states is locked and loaded. when our president draws a red line, president enforces the red line. the united states is deeply grateful to the united kingdom and france for its part in the coalition to defend the prohibition chemical weapons. we worked in step, we were incomplete agreement. last night, our great friends and indispensable allies shouldered the burden that benefits us shouldered the burden that benefits us all. the civilised world owes them its banks. in the weeks and months to come, the security council should take time to reflect on its role in defending the international rule of law. the security council has failed in its duty to hold those who use chemical weapons to account. that failure is largely due to russian obstruction. we call on russian obstruction. we call on russia to take a hard look at the
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company it keeps and live up to its responsibilities as a permanent member of the council and defend the actual principles united nations was meant to promote. last night, we successfully hit the heart of syria's chemical weapons enterprise and because of these actions, we are confident we have crippled syria's chemical weapons programme. we are prepared to sustain this pressure is the syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will, thank you. the syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will, thank youlj the syrian regime is foolish enough to test our will, thank you. i want to test our will, thank you. i want to thank the representative of the united states for your statement and i now give the floor to the representative of the united kingdom. thank you, mr president. mr president, these are uncertain at times and today, we deal with exceptional circumstance. acting with our american and french allies in the early hours of this morning, the united kingdom conducted co—ordinated, targeted and precise
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strikes to degrade assad's chemical weapons capability and deterred their future use. the weapons capability and deterred theirfuture use. the british royal air force launched storm shadow mis—sells into a military facility 15 miles west of homs where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapons, in breach of serious regulations under the chemical weapons convention. a full assessment has not yet been completed, but we believe the strikes to be successful. furthermore, not of the british, us french aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engage by syrian air defences and there is no indication that russian air defence systems were employed. 0ur action was limited, targeted and effective strike. there were clear boundaries that expressly dry to avoid escalation and we did everything possible, including
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rigorous planning, before any action was undertaking, to ensure we mitigated and minimised the impact on civilians. together, our action will significantly degrade the syrian regime's ability to research, develop and deploy chemical weapons and deterred their future use. the uk prime minister has said, we are clear about who was responsible for the atrocity of the use of chemical weapons. a significant body of information, including intelligence, indicates the syrian regime is responsible for the attack we saw last saturday. some of the evidence that leads us to this conclusion is as follows. there are open source accou nts as follows. there are open source accounts alleging that a barrel bomb was used to deliver the chemicals. multiple open source reports claim regime helicopter was observed above the city of douma on the evening of
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the city of douma on the evening of the 7th of april. the opposition does not operate helicopters, nor does not operate helicopters, nor does it use barrel bombs. and reliable intelligence indicates that syrian military officials co—ordinated what appears to be the use of chlorine in douma on the 7th of april. mr president, no other group could have carried out this attack. indeed, for example, daesh does not even have a presence in douma. the syrian regime has been killing its own people for seven yea rs, killing its own people for seven years, its use of chemical weapons which has asked ash exacerbated human suffering, is a serious crime of international concern is a breach of international concern is a breach of the cost international law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and this amounts to a war crime and crime against humanity. any state is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to
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alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering. the legal basis for the use of force for the united kingdom is humanitarian intervention, which requires preconditions to be met. number one, there is convincing evidence generally accepted by the international community as a whole of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief. i think the debate in this council and the briefings we have had have proved that. secondly, it must be objectively clear that there is an impractical bowl alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved. i think the beaters have shown that. and thirdly, the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian suffering and they must be strictly limited in time and in scope to this same, andi limited in time and in scope to this same, and i think we have heard both in my intervention and ambassador
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hayley‘s how that has also been met. the history of the syrian conflict isa the history of the syrian conflict is a litany of threats to peace and violations of international law. the security council has met 113 at times since the syrian war started. it was therefore not for want of international diplomatic effort that we find ourselves in this position today. after a pattern of chemical weapons use since the outbreak of the conflict, assad divide the international community in 2013 by launching a sarin gas attack on eastern ghouta, leaving more than 800 people dead. despite the option of resolution 2118 and four years a patient engagement, syria continues to use chemical weapons against its people and has failed to and is a long list of serious questions. the only conclusion we can reach a syria
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had not declared or destroyed all of its chemical weapons, despite its obligations under the chemical weapons convention. this is not an assertion on our part, but a matter of record, and i draw the russian ambassador's attention to his points. the 0pcw‘s unanswered questions and discrepancies. he knows this, we all know this, the council was briefed by the 0pcw director—general. resolution 2118 decides in the event of noncompliance to impose measures under chapter seven of the charter, yet on the 28th of february last year when the uk together with france proposed a resolution taking measures under chapter seven, short of the use of force, russia vetoed. the very least this council should have been able to do, mr president, was to follow up on the findings of the report by extending its mandate.
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yet four at times, russia has vetoed different proposals from different council members to do just that. the syrian regime and its supporters are responsible for the gravest violations of international and humanitarian law in modern history. they have used indiscriminate weapons, notably barrel bombs and ammunitions, against civilians and they have deliberately targeted medicalfacilities in they have deliberately targeted medical facilities in schools and humanity in personnel and civilian objects. they have used sieges and starvation as methods of warfare, accompanied by attacks on operation held civilian areas. the regime has persistently structured humanitarian aid and medical evacuations. tens of thousands of people had been illegally detained, tortured and executed by the regime. this is one of the most serious challenges to the international nonproliferation regime we have ever faced. the international nonproliferation regime we have everfaced. a party
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has violated the chemical weapons convention and defied the security council and it has broken international law. repeated attempts over several yea rs international law. repeated attempts over several years to hold them to account have been met with russian obstruction and resistance. we have repeatedly in this council attempted to ove rco m e repeatedly in this council attempted to overcome this obstruction, without success. mr president, we faced with litany of violations and a sense of guilt, —— and no sense of guilt, regret, responsibility, a shameful record maxed in a mix of denial, deceit and disinformation. mr president, i would invite those like the russian ambassador who speak about the charter to consider the following. it is hard to believe that it the following. it is hard to believe thatitis the following. it is hard to believe that it is in line with the principles and purposes of the charter to use or condone the use of chemical weapons. and in the united kingdom's view, it cannot be illegal to use force to prevent the killing
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of such numbers of innocent people. i will take no lessons, mr president, in international law from russia. despite all this, mr president, we would like to look forward , president, we would like to look forward, the united kingdom, together with france and the us will continue to pursue a diplomatic resolution to the syrian crisis. my french colleague will say more about our work french colleague will say more about ourwork ina french colleague will say more about our work in a few moments. we believe it must comprise four elements. 0ne, syria's chemical weapons programme must be ended and the chemical weapons stockpiles destroyed once and for all. two, there must be an immediate cessation of hostilities in compliance with all security council resolutions and these include those which mandate humanitarian access. three, the regime must return to the geneva talks and agreed to engage on the
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substantial agenda put forward idu and special envoy. —— by the un special envoy. bob, accountability for the use of chemical weapons and other war crimes in syria. mr president, the secretary general rightly highlighted the political process. we propose as the security council will all be together next weekend in the retreat with the secretary general, very kindly hosted by sweden, that we should use that opportunity to reflect on the next steps and the way back to the political process. and with our allies, we stand ready to work with allies, we stand ready to work with all members on the security council towards this end, thank you. i would like to thank the representative of the united kingdom andi representative of the united kingdom and i will now give the floor to the representative of france. mr president... well, that is a
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session of the united nations security council going on live now in new york. you heard from the british ambassador, karen pearce, and before her was the american representative, nikki haley. before that, from the russian ambassador to the united nations. and he spoke about the air strikes, calling them cynical. and he said that russia wa nted cynical. and he said that russia wanted to put a vote to this security council on a draft resolution. but to bring in our correspondent, jonah fisher, in moscow who has been listening to that. how would you characterise the russian position on what has happened? things we have been hearing all day in moscow from the russian authorities. namely, that they very much doubt that this chemical weapons attack took place as it has been described in douma
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and they believe there is a conspiracy effectively amongst the west to try and make them look bad and to frame them. vladimir putin put out a statement, much of it was word for word what the ambassador said in the un security council meeting. talking about the actions of the united states exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe in syria and that it would indulge the terrorists. tough words, but i think behind closed doors here in moscow, there is a sense of relief today. cast your mind back 2a hours, 48 hours, cast your mind back 24 hours, 48 hours, there was a lot of concern about the possibility of russian forces on the ground in syria and indeed russia has a naval base in syria as well, that they might find themselves touched in some way by an american led military action. but did not happen and the action was fairly limited, confined to these
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chemical weapons facilities and facilities related to chemical weapons production and storage. so the scenario which people in moscow had genuinely dreaded, that some of their forces had genuinely dreaded, that some of theirforces might had genuinely dreaded, that some of their forces might be had genuinely dreaded, that some of theirforces might be killed or caught up in any strikes, that did not come to pass and so the pressure is not there today in quite the same way. russian leaders would have been under intense pressure to respond perhaps militarily if russians had been killed on the ground in syria. that has not come to pass and behind closed doors at least, i think people are breathing a sigh of relief here. the pentagon made clear earlier in the afternoon that there had been conversations on a military hotline between washington and moscow, is their talk of that as well in moscow? we have not heard about it directly from the russians but you are right, there is this deconfliction mine which has existed for a while between the russian military and the
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united states military to insure that when they conduct that activities in syria, theirforces that when they conduct that activities in syria, their forces do not come into conflict with each other. we heard from the pentagon that that line had been used in the last few weeks running up to this strike and was used again today. interesting from the pentagon, they wa nted interesting from the pentagon, they wanted to stress they have not warned the russians about what had happened, but they had been using that line. we heard slightly different statements from the british and from the french, which suggests there was quite a lot of communication going on over the last few days in the run—up to be strikes to make sure that that doomsday scenario, the nightmare scenario of russians killed on the ground in syria by these air strikes did not come to pass and that would of course have led to a marked escalation of the situation. many thanks. 0ur correspondent in moscow. these strikes will have a major
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impact on the entire region. we will talk about now the effect on iran from mark fitzpatrick. the focus has been on russia, iran is the other key ally to syria. what is your assessment of how the mood is likely to be now in tehran? iran has even more forces in russia than syria and strikes against syrian military facilities have the potential for hitting iranians as well, as was the case when israel conducted a strike against a facility in syria after the drone attack in israel. iran
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will be looking at this latest intervention by the united states, britain and france as a demonstration of will, capability, and indeed, that is the point of it in addition to punishing assad. it is to demonstrate that iran had best be careful about its use of force in the region. and what is, as far as one can tell, iran's likely reaction to be? well, iran, in their public posture, will of course condemn this attack, as russia has condemned it. and tonight any cub ability, even though in the ice of most of the rest of the world, iran will be seen asa rest of the world, iran will be seen as a list indirectly couple bought because of its support for assad in the way that russia is directly coble ball. i think iran will continue to be rather cautious in
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its regional adventurism. already, we have seen in the past year that the kind of harassment of ships that the kind of harassment of ships that the iranian revolutionary guard navy had conducted in the persian gulf, that has been a very low tempo over the past year because the iranians are being cautious about not provoking trump. this intervention by the three powers will make iran even more cautious about not provoking the major powers. so in provoking the major powers. soina provoking the major powers. so in a sense, do you think it might have achieved another objective, these air strikes? i think it will have achieved, or at least contributed to another objective. no action like this has a single objective. it is a means of sending a signal. and there is no doubt that that signal will have been received
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in tehran. and there is another way, it isa in tehran. and there is another way, it is a subtle signal. not only a demonstration of a will and capability, but is also a demonstration of an ability to be subtle, to calibrate american actions. this was a very carefully calibrated attack, it was limited and is designed not to incur any casualties by russians and probably by iranians as well, so the iranians will see the united states is both capable but careful. that is something they may not have anticipated, that president trump would be able to be this careful. we have to leave it there, mark fitzpatrick, thank you very much. you are very welcome, i am happy to talk to you. over to the ministry of defence now and our correspondent, daniel tangudd. the extent of british involvement has become clear over the afternoon.
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yes, that is right and we have heard from the un security council and it is still not clear what the full impact of british involvement is, as put by the british ambassador to the united nations. but of the 105 missile strikes, 87 were american, 12 french and eight british storm shadow missiles fired from four tornado due forjets. these cruise missiles which go at very low altitude and they rise up before the target and hit the target. the americans put out aerial photographs which seems to show there was considerable damage to the chemical weapons facility where the british missiles hit. we also had some justification today, some more details on the british ambassador to the united nations in her intervention, where she was saying that they had eyewitness reports that they had eyewitness reports that there was a syrian helicopter
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hovering, dropping the barrel bomb at around the time that the chemical weapons were released in douma and they had intelligence that syrian military officers were coordinating the use of chlorine in douma that day and that is the ongoing justification, the humanitarian intervention to prevent further civilian loss of life in syria using chemical weapons. daniel, civilian loss of life in syria using chemicalweapons. daniel, we have to leave it there, many thanks. 0ur correspondent at the ministry of defence. so great deal going on this afternoon diplomatically, as you might expect. you heard from the ambassadors at the united nations, in an emergency session called by russia. we expect there to be a vote held at the united nations on that d raft held at the united nations on that draft resolution that has been put forward by russia, and we are also expecting a press conference from nato some time fairly shortly. so do
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stay with us for more news at the top of the hour. you of course watching bbc news. time for a look at the weather with chris fawkes. we have finally had a decent spring, sunny day. in newquay, is lifting and revealing sunny skies and the sunshine has been extensive across most of england and wales although it has been cloudy for north east england, northern ireland and central and southern scotland. what little cloud we have seen will melt away over the coming hours, leaving clear skies to take us through most of the night. exception to that is towards the south—west. we will see cloud thickening towards the end of the night and a band of rain approaching cornwall and pembrokeshire. for most of us, 5—8d
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although, but colder across parts north east scotland. looking at the weather for tomorrow, a completely different kind of weather day. we have low pressure coming our way and this is the low, notice this area of cloud spiralling around the centre into low—pressure centre and that is often what we see with older areas often what we see with older areas of low pressure which is coming our way and it means we have on sunday cloud your day with sprains rush with spells of rain working in, feeling caller and turning windy across the west. sunday's forecast, notice these bands of rain. most of us notice these bands of rain. most of us will see a couple of downpours followed by some sunshine. and the rain threatens northern ireland and scotla nd rain threatens northern ireland and scotland but probably during the afternoon in the northern scotland, it should dry. temperatures 11—15d. don't worry, that is not the end of the warm weather. we will see a return to it and not return to u nsettled return to it and not return to unsettled conditions because high pressure is building to the east, dragging warm airfrom the near
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continent, and we see temperatures rise significantly next week. how warm will it get? we could see highs of 25 degrees to the north west of london. but fairly widely, mostly we will see temperatures in the high teens to low 20s towards the middle to the end of the week ahead. before we get there, monday looks like a decent day. a lot of dry weather in england and wales, south—westerly winds bring thicker cloud and rain in northern ireland and could turn wet here. crowding over in western scotla nd wet here. crowding over in western scotland with the best sunshine in the north east, i did 15 degrees. but the temperatures build toward the middle of the week. this is bbc news. i'm alive in beirut with special coverage. president trump heals the overnight operations in syria as a success declaring mission accomplished. britain, the us and france have bombed three sites in syria. the us, britain and france say they targeted three chemical weapons sites with more than 100 missiles.
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president assad says it's an act of aggression which will make him more determined to fight his opponents. the secretary—general calls for a political solution. i would urge all members to show restraint in these dangerous situations and avoid any hacks that could escalate matters and make the suffering worse for the
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