Koenders condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria

‘The use of chemical weapons, by any party, in any place or under any circumstances, is a violation of international law and is completely unacceptable,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders in response to the findings of an international investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The report by the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a joint undertaking by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations, confirms that the Syrian regime deployed chemical weapons against its own population. The report also concludes that ISIS committed an attack in Syria using mustard gas.

‘The report’s conclusions are shocking,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘This was a flagrant breach of Security Council Resolution 2118 and of Syria’s obligations as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The members of the UN Security Council must live up to their responsibility, condemn the use of these weapons and ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished.’

The foreign minister said that the individuals responsible for these horrific acts must be held to account and that the international community must make every effort to ensure that justice prevails.

Mr Koenders added that confirmation that chemical weapons have been used in Syria makes it all the more important to step up efforts to bring the conflict there to an end. ‘We all know what needs to be done,’ he said. ‘Hostilities must be halted, access must be granted for humanitarian aid and political negotiations must resume swiftly.’

The UN Security Council will discuss the report later today.