Syria - Chemical weapons - Didier Reynders pleased with the Geneva agreement

date: 14 September 2013

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is pleased with the Geneva agreement between Secretary of State Kerry and Minister Lavrov.

This is a very ambitious plan which aims at completely neutralising the Syrian chemical arsenal in less than one year. Such a far-reaching plan has never been drawn up before. Its implementation in a country at war will pose enormous challenges, and these will only be overcome through close cooperation between the international community and the Syrian authorities.

For the Minister, the importance of neutralising the chemical arsenal cannot be overstated. The Syrian conflict is probably the only time in history that a country with weapons of mass destruction is being ravaged by a civil war. If this plan is implemented, the Assad regime will no longer be able to make use of these weapons against its people and those weapons no longer risk falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Minister Reynders sees in this agreement a major victory for the supporters of international disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.

Minister Reynders is pleased that when the international community, and the permanent members of the Security Council in particular, combine their efforts constructive solutions can be found. The Minister hopes that the new spirit of cooperation will continue in the quest for a political solution to the conflict. He moreover hopes that the Geneva 2 process can be started very soon.

Now that winter is coming and in view of the exhaustion of the Syrian population caused by years of war, the Minister calls on the international community to mobilise itself, both to provide the humanitarian aid which the population so desperately needs and to protect it against the acts of violence which it suffers on a daily basis.