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Mogherini urges new UN-led drive for Syrian peace

Mogherini urges new UN-led drive for Syrian peace

Photo: AFP

The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday called for a fresh push for peace in war-wracked Syria under the aegis of the United Nations. The devastating Syrian conflict between rebels and forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad is now in its eighth year.

"First and foremost we are preparing for next week's conference on Syria to ensure an opportunity to re-launch the peace process under the auspices of the United Nations," Mogherini said in Brusssels on Monday.

Syria would "top the agenda" at Monday's summit of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Mogherini stated.

"We will reach some conclusions and reiterate our shared position in the name of the 28 member states - as I have laid out over the past two days - especially on the use of chemical weapons and our reactions to this."

Mogherini said she held talks on Sunday with the UN envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura and with "our Arab partners" at a weekend Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia which she was invited to open.

"It seems clear to me that fresh impetus needs to be given at this time to relaunch the political process led by the UN," Mogherini said.

Arab League leaders on Sunday condemned the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for an international investigation, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters after the summit.

On Saturday, joint US, UK and French strikes targeted Syrian government sites in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April.

Western allies believe the attacks killed dozens of people with the use of chlorine gas and possibly Sarin and that the Syrian government was responsible. Syria vehemently denies this.