Minister Reynders discusses situation in Syria and Iraq in New York

In the margins of the opening of the 72nd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders participated Thursday and Friday in several meetings on the situation in Syria and Iraq and on the fight against impunity in the region.

The Minister pointed out the seriousness of the horrors that have unfolded in Syria and Iraq. According to him, there is little doubt that the crimes that have been perpetrated in these two countries can be qualified as war crimes and crimes against humanity, or perhaps even as genocide. He called for the fight against impunity to be made a priority in the fight against Daesh.

The Minister welcomes Iraq’s commitments.  There remains however a necessity in the country to introduce judicial reforms in order to strengthen the rule of law and to take measures for the collection and safeguarding of evidence. This is the reason why Belgium co-sponsored a resolution adopted by the Security Council  in order to support Iraq in its investigations on the crimes perpetrated by Da’esh. This resolution must be a first step in order to support Iraq towards a global strategy to hold accountable the authors of all violations of international humanitarian law in the country.

The Minister took also part to a meeting of the International Coalition for the fight against Da’esh. He emphasised the necessity to maintain the cohesion of the coalition in order to support the stabilisation and the reconstruction of the country, beyond the military victories against the terrorist organisation.

Concerning Syria, the Minister confirmed again his support to the International, Independent and Impartial Mechanism that was created at the end of last year by the UN General Assembly. This Mechanism must make it possible to assist international, regional and national entities during the enquiries and prosecution of the horrors in Syria. Belgium already allocated a contribution of 250.000 euros to the Mechanism’s creation. The Minister insisted on a swift operationalisation of the Mechanism, so that the operations can start.

Didier Reynders participated  also to an EU gathering on Syria. He deems it very important that the EU continues to ask for attention on the humanitarian situation in Syria and its neighbouring countries. The efforts announced at the EU Conference in Brussels in April this year must be continued. The Minister insisted on the fact that the relative decrease of violence in the areas conquered from Dae’sh and the so-called de-escalation zones can’t give the illusion that the crisis has ended. It is also essential that the international community continues to commit to a political, global and inclusive solution to the conflict, the only manner to ensure a durable peace.