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Commission should check use of chemical arms, Zeman says

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Prague, April 7 (CTK) – The U.S. air strike in Syria was rightful if a chemical attack was launched from the place hit by the U.S. missiles, but the circumstances of the use of chemical weapons must be at first investigated by an independent commission, Czech President Milos Zeman told journalists today.

Last night, the USA attacked an air base in west Syria in response to a poisonous-gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, a town in a rebel-controlled area in the Idlib province.

Zeman said he did not want to express agreement or disagreement with the attack before the exact circumstances of the attack were found out.

Now it is the most important thing to check the causes of the attack, which means the use of chemical arms in the Syrian Idlib province, he added.

“As this only happened early in the morning, I am trying to gain all the information. I will not put it straightforwardly whether I agree with something or not,” Zeman said.

He said the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Idlib province was undoubtedly a crime.

“I am only saying it was rightful if it was an attack on the base from which the aircraft with the chemical arms took off,” Zeman said.

“An independent commission should check whether this really was so, whether the U.S. bombing was caused by the Syrian government or the Syrian military,” he added.

If the Syrian government is really responsible for the use of chemical arms, the use of the U.S. missile would be adequate, Zeman said.

“I would welcome it if the affair were investigated by an independent commission under the auspices of the Security Council,” he added.

“If anyone prevented the commission from its investigation, by this alone he would be defined as the culprit of the action, de facto a chemical war,” Zeman said.

Zeman, who says he has good relations with both U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, dismissed the idea that he should make a choice between them.

He said he was standing on his own feet.

Russia has denounced the attack, calling it an unacceptable aggression.

Zeman said even if he eventually adopted a critical stand on the U.S. attack, this would not affect his forthcoming trip to the USA where he was to meet Trump.

“What matters is consensus on basic questions, not on the one and only incident,” Zeman said.

He said he and Trump agreed on their attitude to migration, Islamist terrorism and climate questions.

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