Foreign Minister condemns use of chemical weapons, says there cannot be military solution in Syria

Cyprus “strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons”, which constitutes “a war crime and a crime against humanity”, calls for a “thorough investigation by the relevant international organizations”, but clarifies that there can be no military solution to the Syria issue, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Christodoulides has stressed at his intervention in the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which took place on Monday in Luxembourg.

As the situation in Syria was the main topic of discussion, along with EU-Russia relations and developments in Iran, the Foreign Minister pointed out that “there can be no military solution to Syria”, stressing that “Cyprus, like the rest of the countries in the region, “is particularly concerned by the continuing deterioration of the situation, which will have a serious impact on the population as well as security in the wider region.”

In this context, the Foreign Minister, among other things, expressed, as other Ministers did, his concern about Turkeys invasion of Syria, particularly in the region of Afrin, which has led to a further deterioration of the situation, stressing that “there cannot be a solution in Syria with the presence of foreign troops in the country.”

Concluding, the Foreign Minister stressed the need to strengthen the efforts of the international community and the EU to achieve a political solution to Syria. In this context, he referred to the important role of the Special Envoy of the General Secretary of the UN, Staffan de Mistura, and invited the European partners to support his efforts. “Diplomacy can not and should not be abandoned”, said Christodoulides.

The Ministers also exchanged views on the Western Balkans Strategy in view of the forthcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia.

In the margins of the Council, Nikos Christodoulides had separate bilateral meetings with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, with whom he discussed the further deepening of bilateral relations, at the regional and the European level.

During the two meetings, the Foreign Minister referred to the cooperation between Cyprus and the countries of the region and exchanged views on the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, explaining the role of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean region. He also emphasized on the energy planning of the country, exchanging views, in particular with Le Drien, on strategic cooperation between Cyprus and France both in the field of energy and security, as well as the prospects for further development.

Finally, Nikos Christodoulides briefed his two counterparts on the prospects for resuming talks on the Cyprus issue, stressing the readiness of our side to engage in a frank dialogue to achieve a viable solution that does not go beyond the principles and values of the EU, as well of the United Nations resolutions on Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency