Mapping States’ Reactions to the Syria Strikes of April 2018

In the early morning hours of April 14 in Syria, the United States, France and the United Kingdom launched a series of strikes against three targets related to Syria’s chemical weapons program. In the days that followed, states provided a range of reactions to the strikes, including at an emergency session of the UN Security Council held on April 14. Some of these official statements include considerations of international law — explicitly pronouncing on the legality or illegality of the strikes or referencing international rules in general terms — while many others do not. Consolidating and analyzing state reactions — from intervening states, affected states, and third party states — may be useful to evaluating both the political atmosphere as well as the legality of the use of force in such circumstances, in at least three ways:

1. As a reassertion of a well-established rule of international law (by way of condemning its violation)

2. As an expression of opinio juris necessary for the formation or evolution of a customary norm

3. As an expression of an “agreement” (or lack thereof) with the practice of state parties to the UN Charter, relevant to interpreting the provisions of the Charter (pursuant to Art. 31(3)(b) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties).

We have begun the project of collecting these official statements in response to the strikes, which we consolidate below and will continue to update. We include excerpts here of the operative language of support, condemnation, or mere acknowledgement of the strikes, as well as references that may bear upon states’ views of the strikes’ legality. We also provide direct links to our source materials. Of the 100 states we have canvassed, we have obtained information in regard to 56 states and two intergovernmental organizations (the African Union and NATO). As this is not an exhaustive list, we invite readers to direct us toward any additional state pronouncements we may have omitted.

Two states — the United Kingdom and France — have affirmatively asserted that the strikes comply with international law. The United Kingdom articulated a justification based on a theory of “humanitarian intervention,” reiterating the position it put forward in 2013. France resorted to more equivocal terms, asserting compliance with the “principles and values of the United Nations Charter.” The United States has been largely silent on the legality of the strikes as a matter of international law, with one possible exception that may suggest a move toward asserting their legality. As of the date of posting–and laid out in the linked chart–19 states and 1 regional organization have expressed some kind of political support (or “understanding”) for the strikes without pronouncing on their legality. In this category, we include states that nod toward legal considerations (such as the violation of international law by Bashar al-Assad’s government in its use of chemical weapons), but do not affirmatively state that the US-UK-France strikes are lawful. Another 23 states take a spectrum of stances that neither explicitly support nor condemn the strikes. We have further divided this category to distinguish those 16 states and one regional organization whose statements invoke the UN Charter principles, or principles of non-interference in internal affairs, territorial integrity, or the duty to resort to peaceful means to solve disputes or situations of like nature, from those 7 states who do not. This category reflects that states took a spectrum of responses, rather than one consistent approach to non-commitment. In some instances, it may be possible to infer from their contextual invocation of legal principles an implicit disapproval of the strikes, as a matter of law or practice, but nevertheless these states have not explicitly dismissed the strikes. At times, whether a particular state in this category has an implicit position leaning toward support or disapproval may be a matter of debate, taking into account political context, language, and nuance. Finally, 11 states  — including Syria, Russia, China and South Africa — have taken a clear stand in opposition to the air strikes as illegal under international law.

Note: When no official translation was available at the time of publication, we provided our own, unofficial translation. We are grateful for help we received in this endeavor from Alessandra Asteriti, Aniss Mezoued and Andrea Tafur.

I. Intervening and Affected States

A. Assertion of legality (2 states)

United Kingdom

Policy paper issued by the Prime Minister’s office
(English original)

“The UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering. The legal basis for the use of force is humanitarian intervention, which requires three conditions to be met:
(i) there is convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief;
(ii) it must be objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved; and
(iii) the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian suffering and must be strictly limited in time and in scope to this aim (i.e. the minimum necessary to achieve that end and for no other purpose).”

France

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session
(Unofficial translation and transcript)

“Our action is in full conformity with the objectives and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter, from its very first lines. Our organisation aims to “establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. Indeed, this action was necessary in the face of the repeated violations by the Syrian regime of its obligations, obligations arising from law, treaties and its own commitments. […] Last night’s strikes are a necessary response to the chemical massacres in Syria; they serve the law and our political strategy to put an end to the Syrian tragedy.”

B. Possible claim of legality (1 state)

United States

Briefing by the Secretary of Defense
(English original)

“As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important United States national interests. The United States has vital national interests in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. […] The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone under any circumstances in contravention of international law.”

Remarks at the UN Security Council emergency session
(Unofficial transcript, official translation)

“We’re here today because three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council acted. The United Kingdom, France, and the United States acted – not as revenge, not as punishment, not as a symbolic show of force. We acted to deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity.”

Remarks by the Secretary of Defense

“The French, the United Kingdom, the United States, allies, all NATO allies, we worked together to maintain the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. . . . We did what we believe was right under international law, under our nation’s laws.”

C. Assertion of illegality (2 states)

Russia

Statement from the President
(Unofficial transcript)

“An act of aggression against a sovereign State […] was committed without a mandate from the UN Security Council and in violation of the UN Charter and the norms and principles of international law.”

Syria

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (1:48:17)
(Unofficial transcript)

“[i]n flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the UN Charter, the US, UK and France […] conducted a flagrant violation against the Syrian Arab Republic […]. In response to this terrible aggression, the Syrian Arab Republic exercised its legitimate right, in line with Article 51 of the Charter, to defend itself, and we defended ourselves against this abject attack.”

II. Third States

As of the date of this post, of the third party states supporting the air strikes, none have issued statements with a distinct claim or argument pertaining to their legality under the UN Charter or customary international law. Only France and the United Kingdom have done so.

B. Support without assertion of legality (19 states and 1 regional organization – plus United States above)

This category includes states that have expressed explicit or what could be interpreted as implicit support for the strikes, but without reference to their legality or illegality as a matter of international law.

(Latin America & Caribbean Group)

Colombia

Remarks by the President at Summit of the Americas
(Unofficial translation)

“Colombia is a party to international treaties and organizations that seek to eliminate chemical weapons. We shall never desist in this purpose and we support actions to punish their use and to seek their total elimination”.

(Note: The sentence “we support actions to punish their use” was later deleted from the written remarks uploaded to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. See here for the full written remarks)

Saint Lucia

Remarks by the Prime Minister at Summit of the Americas (1:49:58)
(English original)

“We must also support all the efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria. We also lend our voice to reject the use of chemical weapons and the support in the efforts in order to eliminate their use in that country.”

(Western European & Others Group)

Australia

Press briefing by the Defence Minister
(English original)

“Defence Minister Marise Payne […] conveyed Australia’s full support for the bombing of three sites. […] Ms Payne emphasised Mr Mattis’ assurances that Saturday’s strikes were a ‘one time shot’, even as Mr Trump warned of potentially more action to come. She said she did not envisage further strikes ‘at this point in time’ but did not rule out Australian participation in the future, if asked”.

Belgium

Message from the Prime Minister (Twitter)
(English original)

“Belgium strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in #Syria. We show understanding for joint action of US, France and UK.”

Canada

Statement from the Prime Minister
(English original)

“Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.”

Germany

Official statement from the Chancellor
(English original)

“We support the fact that our US, UK and French allies took on responsibility in this way, as permanent members of the UN Security Council. The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the international ban on the use of chemical weapons and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations.”

Israel

Statement from the Prime Minister’s office
(Unofficial translation)

“[Israel] fully supports President Trump’s decision to act against the use of chemical weapons in Syria”.

Italy

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“[T]he US, France and the UK action against this use of chemical weapons was justified”.

Spain

Oral statement by Prime Minister
(Unofficial translation)

The strikes “are a legitimate and proportionate response to the brutal attacks committed by the Syrian regime against the civilian population”.

The Netherlands

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session
(English original, unofficial transcript)

“I call upon all members of the Security Council to support a collective, meaningful response to the use of chemical weapons. But even if this Council fails to act, it should be clear to the world that the use of chemical weapons is never permissible. Mr President, against the background of past horrors and the unabated risk of recurrence, the response by France, the United Kingdom and the United States is understandable. The response was measured in targeting a limited number of military facilities that were used by the Syrian regime in its illegal chemical weapons arsenal. The action taken by these three countries made clear that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable”.

Turkey

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on 7 April. We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime […] Turkey believes that it is of critical importance that such crimes do not go unpunished and that accountability is ensured in order to prevent the recurrence of similar crimes”.

(Eastern European Group)

Georgia

Statement from Georgia’s Foreign Minister (on Twitter)
(English original)

“Missile strikes by #US, #UK, #France on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of #Syria is an appropriate & needed response to #SyriaChemicalAttack against civilian population.Use of chemical weapons is unacceptable & those responsible must be held accountable.”

Poland

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (00:56:10)
(English original)

“We fully understand the reasons behind the action taken last night by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against the Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and we support this action intended to deter further chemical weapons attacks against the people of Syria. … It is primary UNSC responsibility to set up an investigative. […] Poland calls for refraining from actions which could further escalade this situation”.

Ukraine

Official Statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“Ukraine expresses solidarity with the United States, Great Britain and France and supports actions of the allies in response to the use of chemical weapons by Damascus in the Syrian city of Douma, which has led to numerous civilian casualties. […] Ukraine reiterates its firm stance that the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances is a flagrant violation of international law and those responsible for such actions must be held accountable”.

(Asia-Pacific Group)

Sultanate of Oman

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (as reported by the press)
(English original)

“The Sultanate expresses its support for the reasons that led the United States, the United Kingdom and France to take military action against Syrian military installations.”

Qatar

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“The State of Qatar expresses its support for the American, British and French military operations against specific military targets that the Syrian regime uses in its attacks against the innocent civilians. The Syrian Regime’s continued use of chemical weapons, and its continued indiscriminate attacks against civilians, and lack of consideration for the resulting humanitarian and legal consequences of those crimes require that the international community take immediate actions to protect the Syrian people and deny the regime the use of internationally prohibited weapons.”

United Arab Emirates

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
(English original)

“The UAE also expressed its support to all international measures which aim to remove and destroy such internationally -prohibited weapons and stressed the need to prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of armed terrorist groups in the conflict areas.

In this context, the UAE also expressed its support to the military operations that targeted the prohibited weapons and their facilities in Syria.”

Japan

Statement from the Foreign Minister
(English original)

“Japan’s position is that we will never accept the use of chemical weapons, we believe that in the case that chemical weapons are used, the parties who used them must be punished. And it is extremely regrettable that recently the threshold for the use of chemical weapons has lowered, and chemical weapons are becoming weapons that are used. In this context, Japan is able to support the present determination of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France not to accept the proliferation of the use of chemical weapons, and understands these measures […]”

[When asked about legitimacy of the attack]: “Japan, which is not a party to this matter, is not in a position to state a legal assessment of the action.”

Republic of Korea

Commentary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English official)

“1. The government of the Republic of Korea, perceiving the proliferation and use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and safety that cannot be tolerated under any circumstances, strongly condemns it. 2. The ROK government actively supports the international community’s efforts to prevent the use of chemical weapons, especially the deaths of innocent civilians caused by it.”

(Intergovernmental organization)

NATO

Statement from the North Atlantic Council
(English original)
“Allies expressed their full support for this action intended to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter further chemical weapon attacks against the people of Syria.”

C. No explicit commitment (23 states and 1 regional organization)

i. With reference to law (16 states and 1 regional organization)

This category includes states that have not explicitly expressed support or condemnation for the strikes, but have nevertheless invoked the rules of the UN Charter on the prohibition of the use of force. Some of these state pronouncements could be interpreted as implicitly condemning the strikes (e.g. Kuwait), while others reflect a tension between political support and legal concerns (e.g. Sweden).

(African group)

Ethiopia

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (1:23:40)
(Official translation, unofficial transcript)

We “are all disappointed by the current deadlock but that should not justify overlooking the obligation to adhere to the principles to the Charter”.

(Note: Ethiopia abstained during the vote on the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

Ivory Coast

Statement to the UN Security Council emergency session (1:37:55)
(Official translation, unofficial transcript)

“It is based on our deep conviction in the virtues of multilateralism that my country believes that use of force in order to preserve peace and security must be authorized by the Security Council in order to endow that action with the necessary essential legal authority and thus avoid any excesses and abuses”.

(Note: Ivory Coast voted against the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

(Latin American & Caribbean Group)

Argentina

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“In the delicate context of these past hours, Argentina calls to the international community to make efforts that permit preserving peace and security, avoiding actions that generate an increase in tension and also encourages following the way of dialogue in the framework of existing international commitments”.

Brazil

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Brazilian government manifests its serious concern regarding the aggravation of the military conflict in Syria […]. Overcoming conflict in Syria requires full respect to the United Nations Charter and international law, including banning use of chemical weapons and effective dialogue. In this context, Brazil reiterates its understanding that the end of the conflict can only be reached through political means, through negotiations undertaken in the framework of the United Nations and based on Security Council resolutions”.

Guatemala

Official Statement
(Unofficial translation)

“Guatemala expresses its desire for ending the use of this type of weapon that have serious humanitarian consequences, through international law and multilateral instruments, avoiding actions that generate a rise in tension”.

Mexico

Remarks by the President at Summit of the Americas
(Unofficial translation)

“Mexico expresses its desire for ending the use of this type of armament that has such crude consequences through international law and multilateral instruments”

Peru

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“Peru condemns the use of chemical weapons and considers that any response to these heinous crimes must conform to international law. […] Peru, as President of the Security Council, is working towards a political solution to the conflict in Syria, as well as for the protection of civilians, in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter and international law.”

(Note: Peru abstained during the vote on the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

Uruguay

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Government of Uruguay expresses its deep concern for the rise in violence in Syria, including the bombings of this early morning against objectives under suspicion of producing chemical weapons. […] The Government of Uruguay calls all the actors involved in the conflict to act with maximum prudence, respecting norms and principles of international humanitarian law and in the strict framework of the United Nations Charter.”

(Western European & Others Group)

Austria

Statement by the Foreign Minister during a TV interview
(Our translation)

Asked about the strikes conducted by the US, France and the UK, she stated that this type of military actions, without UN mandate, are “in principle prohibited under international law.”

Sweden

Statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“Chemical weapons are prohibited and their use is a serious threat to international peace and security. […] Sweden understands the anger that has been provoked by the horrendous attacks committed in Syria. […] We regret that the United Nations Security Council, not least because of the Russian veto, has not been able to agree on how the use of chemical weapons in Syria should be stopped by political means and in accordance with the UN Charter.”

Explanation of vote by Sweden following the vote on a draft Russian resolution
(English original)

“We voted against the draft resolution proposed by the Russian Federation because we believed that the language in the resolution was unbalanced, not comprehensive and it did not cover the entirety of our concerns related to the current situation. At the same time, we agree with the Secretary-General that there is an obligation that actions be consistent with the Charter of the UN and with international law in general.”

(Asia-Pacific Group)

Indonesia

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“1. Indonesia is deeply concerned about the development in Syria. 2. Last week, Indonesia strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons by any parties in Syria. 3. Indonesia calls on all parties to show restraint and prevent an escalation of the deteriorating situation in Syria. 4. Indonesia underlines the need for all parties to respect international laws, and norms, in particular, the UN Charter on international peace and security.”

Kuwait

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (1:17:45)
(Unofficial transcript)

“Kuwait is convinced and is committed to […] the respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in the internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of disputes […] It is certain that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. […] We reiterate our position of principle which is in line with the position of the League of Arab States and we call upon to it to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.”

(Note: Kuwait voted against the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

Malaysia

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“Malaysia is […] deeply concerned over the joint air strikes by the United States, France and the United Kingdom on 14 April 2018. Malaysia has always believed that in dealing with matters of peace and security, all parties must act in a manner consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.”

Pakistan

Press Briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson 
(English original)

“We do not comment on interstate relations. Pakistan’s position on the situation in Syria is based on the principles of international law, the UN Charter and the rules of inter-state conduct with special focus on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.”

Thailand

Statement from the Secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC)(as reported by the press)
(English original)

“While Thailand disagreed with the use of chemical weapons, the government wants all parties involved in the dispute to exercise restraint, Wanlop said. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has not yet announced any special measures following the escalation of hostilities, he said, but he noted that Thailand would consider the matter in accordance with international law as a member of the UN”.

Vietnam

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson (as reported by the press)
(English original)

“We hold that all disputes and differences should be settled by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the United Nations Charter, and of the principle of respecting independence and sovereignty of countries”.

(Intergovernmental organization)

African Union

Statement from the African Union Commission’s Chairperson
(English original)

“The African Union, which is strongly committed to multilateralism, underlines that any response to such acts ought to be based on incontrovertible evidence gathered by a competent, independent and credible entity and comply strictly with international law, including the primacy of the United Nations Security Council for any recourse to force. Africa expects the United Nations Security Council members, especially those that are permanent, to put aside their differences and spare no efforts in the pursuit of global peace and humanity’s common good, in line with the responsibilities conferred upon them by the United Nations Charter.”

ii. Without reference to law (7 states)

This category includes states that have not explicitly expressed support or condemnation for the strikes, nor invoked the rules of the UN Charter on the prohibition of the use of force. The pronouncement of one state (Algeria) however could be interpreted as a condemnation.

(African Group)

Algeria

Statement from the Prime Minister
(Unofficial translation)

“Algeria can only regret the strikes […] It would have been necessary to wait for the findings of an investigation into the alleged chemical attack before taking any steps.”

(Latin American & Caribbean Group) 

Chile

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“We must make all efforts to avoid the Syria crisis generating an increase in violence and transforms into a regional or global crisis that affects more human beings and weakens peace. We make a call to exercising the highest prudence in these actions”.

Panama

Remarks by President at Summit of the Americas (1:30:10)
(Unofficial translation)

“We call upon the great powers to seek paths that allow the Syrian people to achieve lasting peace.”

(Western European & Others Group)

Greece

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English Original)

“Greece unequivocally condemns the use of chemical weapons and supports the efforts to eradicate them. … [T]he international community must remain focused on finding a political and sustainable solution in Syria…  Diplomacy must return to centre stage, and the efforts within the framework of the UN must be continued.”

(Asia-Pacific Group)

India

Statement from the Ministry of External Affairs
(English original)

“We have taken note of the recent strikes in Syria. India is closely following the situation. The alleged use of chemical weapons, if true, is deplorable. We call for an impartial and objective investigation by the OPCW to establish the facts.”

Iraq

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“The Iraqi Foreign Ministry is concerned about recent developments in Syria and calls on the international community to step up efforts to find political solutions to the Syrian crisis and spare the region more tension and focus on combating terrorism, especially in the wake of its defeat in Iraq and its retreat in Syria. The ministry also confirms the attitude of Iraq, which refuses to use chemical weapons from any party and anywhere in the world, especially as the Iraqi people were victims of the use of these weapons during the dictatorship.”

Philippines

Statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (as reported by the press)
(English original)

“The Philippine government on Saturday said it is now monitoring the situation in Syria after the US and its allies launched military strikes in the Syrian capital to stop suspected use of chemical weapons.”

D. Condemnation with assertion of illegality (9 states – plus Russia and Syria above)

(African Group)

Equatorial Guinea

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (1:30:47)
(Official translation)

“[A]lthough these were targeted attacks, they are violations of Chapter V of the UN Charter and a violation of the principles and norms of international law. […] Until we have reliable proof of the alleged chemical attack which took place last weekend in Douma, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea believes that no aggression is justified. […] The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is against the use of force in international relations and we only allow for use of force when when it is in line with the principles of international law and the provisions of the UN Charter”.

(Note: Equatorial Guinea abstained during the vote on the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

South Africa

Statement from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
(English original)

“The South African Government has noted with grave concern the airstrikes conducted by the United Kingdom, the United States and French military in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. […] The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria cannot be a justification for military airstrikes in a territory of a sovereign state without the authorisation of the UNSC. In the same vein, South Africa condemns the use of chemical weapons by any party in the Syrian territory.

[…] We urge all members of the UNSC to shoulder their UN Charter mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security and double all efforts towards a peaceful non-military solution that respects and guarantees the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria”.

(Latin American & Caribbean Group)

Bolivia

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia expresses its most energetic rejection to the unilateral attacks perpetrated against the people of Syria. Bolivia condemns the illegal use of force and calls for compliance with international norms that prevent violations of peace and security and keep the most powerful states from attacking the weakest states with impunity. The Plurinational State of Bolivia reaffirms its commitment to safe-keep compliance with the United Nations Charter, territorial integrity and political independence of States, as well as respect for multilateralism”.

Costa Rica

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Government of the Republic firmly supports multilateralism, cannot support non-authorized use of force, and calls all members of the United Nations to act in conformity with the Organization’s Charter and international law. […] Costa Rica renews its call to the international community to advocate for a peaceful solution to guarantee peace and security in the region, and a full protection of the civilian population”.

Cuba

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba expresses its most energetic condemnation to the recent attack perpetrated by the United States and some of its allies, on the night of this 13th of April against military and civilian facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic, using as pretext the supposed use by the Syrian Government of chemical weapons against civilians. This unilateral action, outside the United Nations Security Council, constitutes a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and said organization’s Charter, and constitutes an outrage against a sovereign State.”

Venezuela

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Unofficial translation)

“The Government of the Boliviarian Republic of Venezuela repudiates and energetically condemns the hostile military attack perpetrated by the United States, France and the United Kingdom against the territory and the brotherly People of the Syrian Arab Republic. Once again, the United States and some of its allies ignore the most fundamental principles and norms of international law, engaging in a unilateral action without discussion and approval in the competent United Nations organs. With the use of unilateral and illegal violence, the attacking states openly violate the sovereignty, the right to life, and all the human rights of the brotherly Syrian People”.

(Asia-Pacific Group)

China

Statement to the press from the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(English original)

“First, the UN Charter has made explicit stipulation on the circumstances for the use of force. The military strikes on Syria by the US, the UK and France violate the basic principle of prohibition of use of force in international law and run contrary to the UN Charter. The modern international law prohibits retaliatory force measures against illegal behaviors. The use of force against Syria on the ground of “punishing or retaliating against the use of chemical weapons” does not conform to international law, neither does the use of force on the ground of “unilateral humanitarian interference” bypassing the Security Council […]”

Iran

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(English original)

“This amounts to a flagrant breach of international laws and principles, and a violation of Syria’s right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Based on religious, legal and moral principles, the Islamic Republic of Iran is against the use of chemical weapons, and at the same time dismisses as utterly unacceptable and denounces seeking pretexts to launch aggression against an independent country.”

Kazakhstan

Statement at the UN Security Council emergency session (00:48:20)
(Unofficial transcript, official translation)

“We called […] to act responsibly in accordance with the UN Charter and international law. […] We are preaching others to strictly follow the international law and order but sadly yesterday we witnessed a different example. […] Kazakhstan’s position has always been and continues to be that military action is the last resort to be applied only in cases approved by the Security Council. There was no approval of this Council of the military strikes that took place yesterday.  […] We would like to remind members of the Council that the principled position of Kazakhstan is not only the most severe condemnation of the use of WMD by any party, especially against the civilian population, but also the resolution of conflicts exclusively by peaceful means.”

(Note: Kazakhstan abstained during the vote for the Russian draft resolution condemning the airstrikes).

 

About the Author(s)

Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg

Professor of International Law at Universidad del Pacífico (Lima, Peru), Follow him on Twitter @Alonso_GD .

Rebecca Ingber

Associate Professor of Law at Boston University Law Follow her on Twitter @becingber .

Priya Pillai

Lawyer and consultant, with over 15 years of experience in the field of international law, follow her on Twitter @PillaiPriy.

Elvina Pothelet

Ph.D. candidate at the University of Geneva, follow her on Twitter @ElvinaPothelet.