London, June 18 (IANS) G8 leaders Tuesday condemned any use of chemical weapons in Syria, and that they were deeply concerned by the growing threat from terrorism and extremism in the Middle East country.
In a final communique issued after the annual G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, the leaders called on all parties in the conflict to allow access to the UN investigating team, Xinhua reported.
It said the UN team must be mandated by the UN secretary-general, and drawing on the expertise of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), in order to conduct an objective investigation into reports of use of chemical weapons.
The UN team should make their report and deliver it to the UN Security Council for their assessment, it added.
“We are determined that those who may be found responsible for the use of chemical weapons will be held accountable. We emphasise the need for the secure and safe storage of all chemical weapons in Syria, pending their destruction under international verification,” the statement read.
“We also condemn in the strongest possible terms all human rights violations and abuses in Syria, committed by anyone, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians.”
The G8 leaders said they were deeply concerned by the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict.
“Syria must belong to all Syrians, including its minorities and all religious groups,” they said in the final communique.
“We call on the Syrian authorities and opposition at the Geneva Conference jointly to commit to destroying and expelling from Syria all organisations and individuals affiliated to Al Qaeda, and any other non-state actors linked to terrorism,” the communique said.
“We will support UN planning for Syria’s transition, recovery, and reconstruction needs, in particular by maintaining continuity of state institutions during transition and helping to ensure that the security forces are effective, accountable and able to deal with the threat of terrorism and extremism,” it said.
The Syria crisis has claimed nearly 93,000 lives since March 2011. The crisis has also left 6.8 million people in need, and sent more than 1.5 million Syrians fleeing to neighbouring countries to seek refuge.
The G8 leaders pledged an additional $1.5 billion to meet humanitarian needs in Syria and its neighbours.
“We recognise that further contributions will be needed given the scale of the challenge. We urge other countries and organisations to make similar commitments,” the statement read.
“We call for aid agencies to be given immediate access to provide humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need, in accordance with humanitarian principles and international law, particularly in the worst affected areas such as Qusayr,” it added.
The UN earlier appealed for $5.2 billion for Syria in 2013.