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EU endorses attacks on Syria by US, UK and France

Union ‘supportive of all efforts’ to prevent the use of chemical weapons, Mogherina says

French Rafale warplanes preparing for take off at the Saint-Dizier aerial military base in eastern France on Friday. Photograph: EPA

The EU has endorsed the attacks last night by the US, UK, and France on Syrian government installations.

In a statement this morning EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherina, reiterated the union’s condemnation of “the repeated use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian regime and said that the union “is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons.”

“In this context ,” the statement adds, “the EU was informed about targeted US French and UK airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities in Syria, these specific measures having been taken with the sole objective to prevent further use of chemical weapons and chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian regime to kill its own people.”

The statement also draws attention to the findings of the report of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission in respect of the responsibility for the chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta and Douma.

“The use of chemical weapons or chemical substances as weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Perpetrators will be held accountable for this violation of international law,”Ms Mogherini adds.

EU foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg on Monday and are expected to endorse the statement.

Draft conclusions which have already been agreed will be amended to make reference to the attacks and are expected to provide political support for the bombings although some member states may wish to refrain from an outright endorsement.

The foreign ministers are expected to say that they are ready to consider further sanctions against the regime.

A Brussels conference on Syria, which will be held on 24th-25th April 2018, co-chaired by the EU and the UN, “will be the opportunity for the entire international community to relaunch its consistent support for the political process and commit new pledges to help the main victims of this ongoing conflict, namely the Syrian people inside and outside Syria”, Ms Mogherinis said.

Earlier the President of the Commission Jean Claude Juncker also issued a statement which did not explicitly endorse the three countries’ actions but said that “the international community has the responsibility to identify and hold accountable those responsible of any attack with chemical weapons.”