Wien, 7. December 2012 Press release

Spindelegger on Syria: "Use of chemical weapons would be a flagrant crime of the Assad regime"

Foreign Minister concerned about possible use of weapons of mass destruction

Vienna, 6 December 2012 – "The most recent information that the Syrian army could be preparing for the use of chemical weapons is highly alarming. I firmly urge the Syrian Government to refrain from using these weapons of mass destruction by all means and to fully secure the existing stock of weapons. The use of chemical weapons against its own people would be utterly unacceptable for the international community of states and a flagrant crime committed by the Assad regime. It would be a fatal fallacy if Assad believed that he will be able to stay in power by using chemical weapons", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.

With his statement, Spindelegger reacted on the most recent signs that the Syrian army could have relocated its considerable stockpile of chemical weapons and begun to load the deadly Sarin nerve gas into various weapon systems. 188 states have shunned these weapons of mass destruction with the International Chemical Weapons Convention (1992). Syria and North Korea are two of the very few states that have not signed the treaty.  

"The Syrian regime is under all circumstances obligated to protect its own civil society and to refrain from committing further blatant violations of human rights and international law by the reckless use of such inhumane weapons. There is no scenario in which the use of chemical weapons could be justified in any way. The international community would be unified in its reaction and would take every measure to hold the people in charge of such violations accountable", Spindelegger stressed. "There can be no place for weapons of mass destruction in international relations in the 21st century. Due to their indiscriminating and uncontrollable effect, they are a particularly cruel relic from the times of the Cold War and oppose the modern understanding of international law and human rights standards. Austria therefore advocates a ban on all weapons of mass destruction", Spindelegger concluded.

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