Action against Syrian chemical weapons

‘The world has stood unified in condemnation of chemical weapons since the atrocities of World War I. The action taken by France, the United Kingdom and the United States against Syria last night is a clear signal that the use of such weapons has consequences. Norway understands the background that led to last night’s action. Any use of chemical weaponry is prohibited,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

France, the United Kingdom and the United States have undertaken a limited action against targets in Syria. Last night’s action is aimed at the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capacity. The objective of the action is to prevent production, proliferation and use of chemical weaponry. As grounds for the action, the countries cite the Syrian regime’s repeated use of chemical weaponry against its own population, most recently in Douma on 7 April.

‘The action must also be seen in light of the Security Council’s clear requirement of Syria in 2013 to destroy its chemical weapons programme. The regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against its own population is in direct conflict with the Security Council’s clear requirement. The Security Council has repeatedly emphasised that the use of chemical weapons in Syria poses a threat to international peace and security, and that the parties responsible must be held accountable,’ said the Foreign Minister.

‘It is highly regrettable that the UN Security Council is paralysed on the question of chemical weapons in Syria. Once again this week, Russia vetoed the establishment of an independent investigative mechanism,’ Foreign Minister Eriksen Søreide said.

‘Despite last night’s attack, it is important that the expert team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – which has travelled to Syria – be given full access to carry out an unbiased investigation,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.

‘I strongly support the UN Secretary-General’s request that all Member States be restrained and refrain from actions that contribute to an escalation of the situation or worsen the suffering of the Syrian people,’ said the Foreign Minister.