The Vatican’s official daily has criticized Western powers for escalating their war rhetoric against Syria despite an ongoing UN investigation into a recent alleged chemical attack near Damascus.
“The tones are becoming ever more drastic and the action being taken by the United Nations appears subjected to a sort of crossfire,” the Osservatore Romano newspaper wrote on Tuesday.
The daily said that “various international actors appear no longer to consider the investigation a determining factor,” adding that “what commitment there was” to a negotiated settlement “appears to be dying out.”
On Thursday, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva called for caution over opposition allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack.
“There should not be a judgment until there is sufficient proof,” Monsignor Silvano Tomasi said.
“What immediate interest would the government in Damascus have in causing such a tragedy?” he asked, adding that the real question is who really benefits from “this inhuman crime.”
Pointing to the havoc caused by the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tomasi said that “armed intervention does not bring any constructive results.”
The call for military action against Syria intensified after the foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching the alleged chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar on August 21.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem challenged the United States and its allies to present evidence that the government had used chemical weapons.
“We are hearing war drums around us. If they want to launch an attack against Syria, I think using the excuse of chemical weapons is not true at all. I challenge them to show what proof they have,” Muallem said.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
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