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No “further action” on Syria until UN chemical weapons experts publish report

September 07, 2013, 19:13 UTC+3
The ministers pointed out that “only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

BRUSSELS, September 7 (Itar-Tass) - The European Union said that no “further action” should be taken with regard to Syria before the U.N. chemical weapons experts investigating alleged chemical attacks in Damascus’ suburbs release their findings.

At their informal meeting on Saturday, September 7, the EU foreign ministers called for “a clear and strong response” to the chemical attack in Syria.

“On 21 August, a large-scale chemical attack was perpetrated in the outskirts of Damascus, killing hundreds of people, including many women and children. That attack constituted a blatant violation of international law, a war crime, and a crime against humanity. We were unanimous in condemning in the strongest terms this horrific attack,” Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement after the ministerial meeting.

“Information from a wide variety of sources confirms the existence of such an attack. It seems to indicate strong evidence that the Syrian regime is responsible for these attacks as it is the only one that possesses chemical weapons agents and means of their delivery in a sufficient quantity,” she said.

Ashton noted that “a clear and strong response is crucial to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity. We must prevent creating a dreadful precedent for the use of chemical weapons in Syria again, or elsewhere.”

At the same time, the EU ministers stressed the need to move forward with addressing the Syrian crisis through the U.N. process. “We note the on-going UN investigation on the 21st of August attack and further investigations on other chemical weapons attacks carried out in this conflict. It hopes a preliminary report of this first investigation can be released as soon as possible,” Ashton said, adding that “the EU urges the UN Security Council to unite in its efforts to prevent any further chemical attack.”

The ministers pointed out that “only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria. An encompassing diplomatic process leading to a political solution is now more urgent than ever. The initiative for a ‘Geneva II’ peace conference, must move ahead swiftly. The EU is ready to provide all support needed to achieve a political settlement and work with partners and international actors, particularly the United Nations.”

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