Irwin LaRocque
Irwin LaRocque

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Friday expressed profound concern and reiterated its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons following confirmation by the United Nations that such weapons were used against civilians in the Ghouta Area of Damascus, Syria.

Following is the full text of the Statement:

CARICOM Statement on Recent Developments with regard to the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) commends the work of the United Nations Mission to investigate allegations of the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria, and expresses its profound concern that the Mission's Report has confirmed the use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus, against civilians, including children. The Report also confirms the release of such weapons on a relatively large scale, and indicates that there is "clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing sarin were used".

The Community reiterates its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, a grave violation of international law including the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention, the UN Security Council 1540 Resolution as well as other relevant International laws and established norms.

The Community welcomes the announcement of the agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States of America regarding a framework to secure and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014. It views this framework as a practical example of the benefits of international dialogue in resolving disputes and maintaining international security without the recourse to the use of force.

The Community is also encouraged that the Government of Syria has now acceded to the 1992 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction. Full compliance by the Syrian Government with its international obligations, as well as the securing and elimination of these weapons are critically important and the necessary international instruments and mechanisms to guarantee this must be put in place.

The Caribbean Community hopes that the conclusion of the Russia-US framework agreement becomes the first major step along the difficult path of reaching a durable negotiated settlement to the bloody and disastrous civil war in Syria.