Damascus must disclose chemical weapons stockpiles: Statement by Foreign Minister Westerwelle

Sep 10, 2013

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today issued the following statement at the Federal Foreign Office on the further approach to the crisis in Syria:

While there are grounds for scepticism, the movement we have seen in the past few hours has increased the chance of a political solution in Syria. However, we have heard things from Damascus on various occasions before. What is needed now is for deeds to follow the words. In the light of the war and suffering in Syria, there cannot be any playing for time.

In the Federal Government’s view, there are three important points:

1. If Damascus is serious, it should immediately accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which regulates the disclosure, control and destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles. Damascus could do that at once. We call upon Damascus to take that step without delay. Our aim is a prohibition, outlawing, supervision and finally the controlled destruction of all Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.

2. It is now necessary to create transparency as quickly as possible. Damascus must put its cards on the table and disclose its entire chemical weapons stockpiles; above all, it must allow international experts to inspect its chemical weapons stockpiles.

3. It is clear that we must not allow ourselves to forget that the issue of responsibility for the terrible events of 21 August also needs to be clarified. For us, therefore, seizing the International Criminal Court of the matter of the use of chemical weapons remains on the agenda.
We must not forget that these latest developments do not yet bring an end to the suffering of the people in Syria.

We are not naive; only actions count. But we are convinced that, in this dangerous situation for Syria and for the entire region, no chance of reaching a non-military solution should be missed, no matter how small that chance may be. That is why Germany is emphatically committed to all diplomatic endeavours to reach a political solution.

On the question of the urgency of a United Nations Security Council Resolution, the Minister said: Zusatzinformationen

We can well imagine a UN Security Council Resolution. Talks about this are underway. At the moment it is a matter of making sure that there can be no playing for time. Something has to happen quickly so that the momentum provided by this new opportunity is not missed. Accession to the Convention could be a test of how serious Damascus is. All international efforts must continue unabated.

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