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PM Sobotka condemns chemicals attack in Syria

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Prague, April 5 (CTK) – The Czech government condemns any use of chemical weapons, but the closure of its embassy in Syria would not be a good reaction, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on the Tuesday use of gas in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on Wednesday.

It would only mean that less information on the events in Syria would be available, Sobotka said.

“The Czech government clearly denounces any use of chemical arms,” Sobotka said.

“This is a clear violation of international law. The international community cannot ignore it,” he added.

The Czech Republic supports an independent investigation into the incident that has claimed at least 100 lives and 400 injured, Sobotka said.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said the withdrawal of the Czech ambassador from Damascus might follow if it is confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military used chemical weapons in Idlib Province.

Iveta Polochova, spokeswoman for the Czech branch of the Doctors Without Borders, said the victims showed the signs of an attack by at least two various chemicals.

The Czech Republic is the only EU country to keep its embassy in Damascus even after the start of the civil war in Syria.

Sobotka said its closure would be a bad step.

“This means that we would know much less of what is going on in Syria. On the contrary, the embassy must keep working there,” he added.

The Czech Republic may contribute through humanitarian aid directly to Syrians, Sobotka said.

“It is vital that all countries with an influence on what goes on in Syria, which means Russia, Iran, Western countries, the USA, do their utmost to prevent any further use of chemical arms,” Sobotka said.

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