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Press Releases, 4/10/2017

Chemical attack in Syria and US air strike discussed at the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy

Government Communications Department
Press release 156/2017
7 April 2017

On Friday 7 April, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed the recent events in Syria. Finland has strongly condemned the attack in the village of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib on 4 April, where chemical weapons caused extensive damage. The use of chemical weapons is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), to which Syria is also a party. It is essential to investigate the event thoroughly and to verify the information. The inspectors of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must be guaranteed free and safe access to the victims and the site without delay, and the Syrian administration must engage in full cooperation with the investigation in order that all the details of the event become clear and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Finland is prepared to support the OPCW investigations.

The United States considers that it has been able to establish a connection between the target of its missile strike and the use of chemical weapons. The targeted air strike on 7 April carried out by the United States on military targets in Syria was, thus, based on the existence of chemical weapons in the area.

Finland stresses the role of the UN Security Council and considers that its permanent member states have a particular responsibility for the actions and bringing the perpetrators to justice. The violence and human suffering that persists in Syria must be brought to an end. It is important to work for a ceasefire and continue the UN-led political negotiations to achieve sustainable peace.

Finland has provided humanitarian aid to Syria, supported mine clearing, participated in the analysis and destroying of the chemical weapons and co-financed the UN accountability mechanism to bring those responsible to justice. Finland is prepared to continue providing humanitarian aid to Syria as well as to support a resolution to the conflict and to work actively for implementing the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

Inquiries: Jukka Salovaara, Director General, tel. +358 295 350 636, Jarno Syrjälä, Director General, (Syria), tel. +358 295 351 891, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

This document

Updated 4/10/2017

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