European Union External Action

Syria: all countries should use their influence to stop use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime

14/04/2018 - 17:37

The EU is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons and it reiterates that there can be no other solution to the Syrian conflict than a political one, read a declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU issued after targeted US, French and UK airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities in Syria. The EU was informed about the strikes conducted with the sole objective to prevent further use of chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian regime to kill its own people.

The EU “finds it deeply shocking that the international community is still confronted with the use of chemical weapons” and calls upon all countries, notably Russia and Iran, to use their influence to prevent any further use of chemical weapons, notably by the Syrian regime.

The EU firmly believes that only a credible political solution led by the UN will end the war and ensure the long-term stability of Syria and the region.

The High Representative Federica Mogherini will meet with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura on Sunday on the margins of the League of Arab States summit in Saudi Arabia. On Monday, Syria will be high on the agenda at the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

“We have a common goal in preventing any escalation of violence that could transform the Syrian crisis into a wider regional confrontation, with incalculable consequences for the Middle East and indeed the whole world,” the declaration read.

“The EU calls upon all parties to the conflict, especially the regime and its allies, to implement immediately the ceasefire, and to ensure humanitarian access and medical evacuations as unanimously agreed in UNSC Resolution 2401,” it added.

The Second Brussels Conference on Syria which will be held on 24-25 April 2018, co-chaired by the EU and the UN, will be the opportunity for the entire international community to relaunch its consistent support for the political process led by the UN and commit new pledges to help the main victims of this ongoing conflict, namely the Syrian people inside and outside Syria.

It will be the first international meeting on Syria following the recent chemical attacks.

The declaration stressed that the use of chemical weapons was confirmed by the  OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and reported continuously in recent months in Eastern Ghouta and other areas in Syria, including the most recent reports of a devastating chemical attack on Douma.

“Accountability is a must. The use of chemical weapons or chemical substances as weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity,” the declaration said.

“Perpetrators will be held accountable for this violation of international law,” it added.  

In July 2017 and in March 2018, the EU imposed additional restrictive measures on Syrian high-level officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons and is always ready to consider imposing further measures as appropriate.

The EU deeply regrets that the mandate of the JIM, established by UNSC Resolution 2235 (2015) to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks, has not been renewed in November 2017.

“In this respect, it is highly regrettable that the UN Security Council has so far failed to adopt a strong resolution re-establishing an independent attribution mechanism to ensure accountability for perpetrators of chemical weapons' attacks in Syria,” the declaration said.


Photo: LOUAI BESHARA / AFP