Remembrance day: Didier Reynders condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria
On the eve of the commemoration of the end of the First World War, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders expresses his concern on the insidious return of chemical warfare. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances violates international law and is contrary to the basic standards of humanity. The intention of the international community not to repeat the mistakes of the past was strongly reaffirmed a year ago in the 'Ieper Declaration' on the occasion of the centenary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons.
Didier Reynders strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as recently confirmed in the fourth report of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is shocking to note that a country that is a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention makes use of this inhumane weapon. This had not occurred since the Convention entered into force in 1997. Syria must therefore be held accountable in accordance with the rules of the Convention. Furthermore, by using chemical weapons, Syria violated UN Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013). A strong and united action by the international community is needed to restore the international standard against chemical weapons and to prevent impunity.
Minister Reynders calls upon all Syrian parties to immediately and permanently stop the use of chemical weapons. Moreover, the Syrian government has to provide full clarification of its chemical weapons programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.