“The Elders are appalled by the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria. We strongly condemn the use of such weapons as inhumane and criminal. Those responsible must be held accountable – both individually and collectively.
“UN inspectors are working actively to determine the facts and report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We urge all Member States to await the report of the UN inspectors on the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the deliberations of the UN Security Council before drawing conclusions and deciding on the course of action.
“The Syrian conflict has raged for two and a half years with over 100,000 people killed, many thousands injured, 2 million refugees and over 4 million people internally displaced within Syria.
“There is no military solution to this conflict. Therefore every effort must be made to stop further bloodshed and to re-energise the political process to put an end to the conflict that has devastated and brutalised Syria.
“The horror of this attack should bring the international community together with renewed determination to secure an urgent solution to the conflict in accordance with accepted principles of international law and justice.
“The Security Council has a moral responsibility to find common ground, putting the well-being of the Syrian people at the forefront of its decisions, in order to end the violence and achieve a peaceful settlement based on an inclusive political process.”
The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.
The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are honorary Elders.