Lat-Am nations urge diplomatic solution in Syria

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, shakes hands with Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra,

LIMA, April 14 (Xinhua) — Leaders of Latin American nations on Saturday urged a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria, as an airstrike by the United States and its allies on Syrian government facilities earlier on the same day stoked fear for an escalation of the situation.

“We have stated that an international solution is needed, and not a fragmented (response). As we said, there must be a solution through international law and not by strength,” Brazilian President Michel Temer told reporters on the sideline of the ongoing eighth Summit of the Americas held in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

The United States, Britain and France fired missiles before dawn on Saturday toward what they believed were Syrian government’s research and storage facilities for chemical weapons, under the pretext of an alleged poison gas attack in Douma, near capital Damascus, last weekend which they blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Asked whether he feared a broader military escalation, Temer said “it seems they only attacked military bases but this is not good for the world.”

“These questions must be resolved based on international law,” Temer said while calling for the need to let the United Nations (UN) broker a resolution to the Syrian conflict.

He added that the UN’s involvement should always be a standard approach to resolving regional and international issues like the one in Syria.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri also called for countries to avoid escalating the tensions.

“Argentina calls on the international community to take steps which allow for the preservation of peace and security, avoid actions which will cause an escalation of tensions and … follow paths of dialogue within existing international commitments,” Macri said at the summit.

With regards to chemical weapons, the president said his country “firmly condemns … the use of chemical weapons, as has happened in recent days in Syria.” He also condemned “the existence of facilities dedicated to their manufacturing and/or storage.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales, however, accused the United States of being what he called “a main threat to democracy, peace and the environment in the world”.

Defending regional ally Venezuela, Morales said Washington was imposing “universal sanctions and threats of invasion” against Caracas.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, for his part, rallied the international community to seek ways to reach lasting peace in Syria “after the severe events of the last few days.”

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