April 7, 2017 / 7:37 AM / 2 years ago

German foreign minister says U.S. strike on Syria 'understandable'

BERLIN (Reuters) - The U.S. military strike on a Syrian airbase was “understandable”, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday, given that the U.N. Security Council had failed to take decisive action after a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The United States early on Friday fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase from which it said the chemical weapons attack was launched this week.

“It was almost unbearable to see that the U.N. Security Council was not able to react clearly and unambiguously to the barbaric use of chemical weapons against innocent people in Syria,” Gabriel said during a trip to Mali.

“It’s understandable that the United States have now reacted with an attack against the military structures of the Assad regime which caused this atrocious war crime.”

Gabriel said the international community was united in shunning toxic gas as a weapon, adding: “As understandable as the USA’s military deployment against military infrastructure was in the wake of the U.N. Security Council’s failure, it’s now just as decisive to make a combined effort for peace under the roof of the U.N.,” he said.

Gabriel said it was now necessary to wholeheartedly support the work of the United Nations to bring about a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

“Only a new and democratic Syria will bring lasting peace. Europe and Germany are ready for that. The terrible events of recent days show the conflict parties involved in the region and also the USA and Russia are needed for that,” Gabriel added.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Larry King

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