European Union Foreign Ministers express common position on the issue of Syria

10.09.2013. 12:21

On 6 and 7 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in an informal meeting of the European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. The foreign ministers expressed a common position that the information available on the chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on 21 August indicated the Syrian Government’s responsibility for what had happened. The EU stands up for a clear and strong response to the perpetrated crime and urges the UN Security Council to be united in the efforts of preventing a new chemical attack. At the same time, the EU points to individual responsibility for such crimes, and that should be dealt with by the International Criminal Court.

Latvia supports the joint statement of 6 September by eleven of the G20 countries [1], condemning in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack on 21 August and indicating that evidence has pointed to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack. We share the opinion that the attack calls for a strong international response. The perpetrators must be held accountable to prevent the recurrence of similar crime.

We maintain support for all international efforts, including those by the United Nations, to avert threat caused by Syrian chemical weapons. We are waiting for the UN inspectors’ conclusion on the chemical weapons attack. As previously reported, Latvia was among the 23 European Union Member States and 37 UN member states which, on 21 August, signed a letter to the UN Secretary General initiated by the United Kingdom on a thorough, independent and immediate investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In view of the UN Security Council’s inability thus far to agree on an appropriate response in the Syrian issue, we appreciate the efforts by the U.S. and other countries to restore credibility to the global chemical weapons ban.

[1] Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the USA