Vienna, 22 August 2013 – “The alleged reports on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army are extremely worrying. Together with 36 other member states of the United Nations, Austria has immediately addressed Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and demanded an urgent, comprehensive investigation of the reported event. The Syrian government must immediately grant free access to all relevant locations and sources of information to the UN experts that have recently begun to look into reports on earlier events using chemical weapons“, Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in reaction to reports about the Syrian army using chemical weapons during an attack near Damascus, killing many.
“The use of chemical weapons against their own population would be completely inacceptable to the international community and a glaring crime of the Assad regime“, Spindelegger emphasised.
Syria is one of just a few states that are not part of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. However, as a ratifying party of the Geneva Protocol from 1925, Damascus is still obligated to forego the use of such weapons under any circumstances.
“Weapons of mass destruction are cruel relicts of the Cold War and have no place in the 21st century. The scenario where the use of chemical weapons in any form would be justified does not exist. They are simply incompatible with today’s understanding of international law and human rights”, the Vice-Chancellor concluded.
Contact:Federal Ministry forEuropean and International AffairsPress Department Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213 abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at