Didier Reynders calls for an international investigation into the chemical attack in the Syrian Idlib province
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is shocked by the chemical attack in the Syrian Idlib province, where dozens of civilians, including many children, were killed. His thoughts go out to the victims and their families. He calls for an international investigation into this attack and supports the action that was already taken by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Belgium condemns all use of chemical weapons, regardless of the perpetrators or the circumstances. The use of chemical weapons cannot go unpunished. Our country therefore supports the activities of the Joint Investigation Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who must identify those guilty of the chemical attacks. This research has already proven that the Syrian regime is responsible for at least three chemical attacks, and Daesh for at least one such attack.
Unfortunately, these attacks are not the only violation of humanitarian law in Syria. With the support of Belgium, the UN has authorized in December of last year the establishment of an international mechanism for the collection and preservation of evidence on crimes committed in Syria. This should support the prosecution of serious violations of humanitarian law.
Didier Reynders calls on all Syrian parties to stop the use of chemical weapons. Twenty years after the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a powerful and united action by the international community is needed to enforce the international norm against the use of those weapons.
The incident in Idlib reaffirms the need for an immediate ceasefire and a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria.