• 12-SEP-2013

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

Syria: "Give peace a chance – but the threat of military action remains on the table"

Syria: "Give peace a chance – but the threat of military action remains on the table"
In yesterday's European Parliament plenary session, in a debate with the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Cathy Ashton, the Socialists and Democrats Group called for increased EU commitment to a peaceful solution in Syria.

Speaking during the debate in Strasbourg, Hannes Swoboda, president of Socialists and Democrats Group, said:

"We know for a fact that chemical weapons were used in Syria and all the evidence points to Bashar al-Assad's government as the perpetrator of this attack.

"The international community, and the EU as a key player, have to prevent any further use of chemical weapons. This is our right, but also our obligation. To this end, Syria must place all of its chemical weapons under international surveillance for destruction and sign and ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention – without delay.

"In any case, Assad should be aware that the threat of military action remains on the table.

"The European Union's commitment must go still further: we must continue to support efforts towards the Geneva II Middle East peace conference, as well as ensuring aid reaches the two million refugees displaced by the conflict and redoubling our humanitarian efforts in the country and region."

Speaking about refugees, Veronique De Keyser, vice-president of the Socialists and Democrats Group, said:

"We have to remember that for the moment there are 2 millions Syrian refugees in bordering countries, 4 millions of internally displaced persons in Syria, one million out of four in Lebanon, it is terrifying! We don't have 40 per cent of the financing that we need to survive the winter. So we definitely need to focus on humanitarian aid and continue to finance it. It is vital."

Available video includes an edited package.