|Statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ioannis Kasoulides on the developments in Syria
The Government of Cyprus has repeatedly expressed its grave concern about the use of chemical weapons against the friendly people of Syria, including innocent civilians and even against women and children. Our reaction becomes even stronger when this happens in such proximity to our country. The loss of 1429 lives, including 426 children in the last attack in Damascus, constitutes a crime against humanity. It is unreservedly condemned. Such a heinous act, cannot be left without consequences.
Undoubtedly, use of chemical weapons has occurred. The designation of the responsible side does not fall under the mandate of the UN fact-finding mission. Nonetheless, the Syrian regime is accountable for the fact that it is producing, stockpiling, and is in a position to mixture chemical weapons, in violation of customary international and humanitarian law, including the UN Convention on Chemical Weapons. If the Syrian regime had proceeded to destroy such weapons, in the presence of observers of the relevant international organizations, it would not have the onus to prove that is not responsible of their recent massive use.
Whatever happens, the Geneva II Process must be safeguarded, in order to seek a political solution to the wider problem.
Cyprus, as a country of stability, peace and security in the region, stands ready to live up to its responsibility as a shelter, in case needed, in order to evacuate nationals of friendly countries from the Middle East. Cyprus would like to safeguard this capacity; to that end, we have been assured that the territory of Cyprus will not be used for military strikes.