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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Press point by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after North Atlantic Council meeting on Syria

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

14 Apr. 2018

Good evening.

The North Atlantic Council has just met. France, the United Kingdom and the United States briefed Allies on their joint military action in Syria overnight. They also briefed on the additional, non-military measures taken to reinforce the Chemical Weapons Convention. The three Allies stressed that a significant body of information indicated that the Syrian regime was responsible for the horrendous attack against civilians in Douma on 7 April. Which killed a large number of children, women and men. They also made clear that their military action was limited to the Syrian regime's facilities enabling the production and employment of chemical weapons. They emphasized that there was no practicable alternative to the use of force.

All NATO Allies expressed their full support for last night's actions. Which was intended to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability. And to deter further chemical weapon attacks against the people of Syria. NATO strongly condemns the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity. They cannot become normalized. They are an immediate danger to the Syrian people, and to our collective security. And those responsible must be held to account.

We call on the Syrian regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, to allow rapid, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access. NATO has consistently condemned Syria's continued use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security. Such outrageous actions call for a collective and effective response by the international community. We support international mechanisms to establish responsibility and prevent impunity on the use of chemical weapons. We regret that the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks, was not renewed last year. Even though it was established by a Resolution of the United Nations Security Council three years ago.

Despite sustained diplomatic efforts, the Syrian regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against its own people has contributed to appalling human suffering since the start of the conflict. The use of such barbaric weapons is in flagrant violation of international standards and international norms. It is in breach of multiple United Nations Resolutions. And of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria ratified in 2013. A hundred years after the end of the First World War, we must do all we can to uphold, and not to erode, the Chemical Weapons Convention. NATO fully supports the efforts led by the United Nations to achieve a lasting political solution to the conflict in Syria. We call on all members of the UN Security Council to uphold their responsibilities.

At the same time, we call on all supporters of the Syrian regime, notably Russia, to exercise responsibility to ensure that the Syrian regime participates constructively in the UN-led Geneva process. NATO remains committed to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, of which we are part. Defeating terrorism in all its forms remains a key objective for our countries and a key challenge for the stability in the region.

And with that I'm ready to take a few questions.

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