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News, 4/11/2017

Finland condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria

Reports have been received of a chemical weapons attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in north-western Syria. Finland has strongly condemned this attack, made on 4 April, which violates international obligations.

“The UN Security Council should assume responsibility for the resolution of the crisis,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini demands. The recent events in Syria were also discussed at meeting of the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy on Friday 7 April. Over 80 people were killed in a gas attack in the province of Idlib, the majority of them children.

“Finland condemns all uses of chemical weapons in any circumstances. A legal right to use chemical weapons does not exist. It is important that the event is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice,” comments Counsellor Mikael Långstöm from the Unit for Arms Control at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has started to gather and analyse information about matters related to the event from all available sources. The OPCW will report the results of the investigations to its States Parties

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.

Permanent members of UN Security Council responsible for actions

The permanent members of the UN Security Council bear responsibility for the actions that will be taken. Finland emphasises the role of the UN Security Council in the resolution of the Syria crisis.

Finland is of the opinion that the permanent members of the UN Security Council have a particular responsibility for the actions and for 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 is prepared to continue providing humanitarian aid to Syria as well as to support a resolution to the conflict and to actively contribute to the implementation of a ban on the use of chemical weapons.

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Updated 4/11/2017

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