EU Toughening Up? – Austria Seeks Resumption of Syria Talks in Vienna

Written by | Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is calling for the resumption of the Syrian talks that were launched in Vienna in 2015. The negotiations aimed to end the civil war and bring about a peace deal. They had a broad mandate, representing more than twenty countries, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.


The recent use of chemical weapons in the vicinity of the Syrian capital, Damascus, has triggered mobilization in the West. Although the military strikes were carried out only by the US, France and Britain, they found broad support, including in Germany. While Austria did not join other European countries in the protests against Moscow following the poisoning of a dormer Russian spy in Salisbury, England, Chancellor Kurz was very straightforward regarding Syria: “This latest attack with chemical weapons against the civilian population has been shocking and is to be condemned in the strongest terms. In view of the UN Security Council blockade, I understand this limited military action aimed at preventing further war crimes involving chemical weapons in Syria.”


Austrian Chancellor and his Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl therefore made the offer to the international community to resume the Syria talks, which started in 2015 and have been continuously interrupted: “I therefore urge the responsible actors to hold political talks under UN mediation and to comply with international law, to relieve the people of Syria who have already suffered enough.” European Parliament discussed the Syrian issue with EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini yesterday (17 April) while its President Antonio Tajani tweeted that “the EU must be bolder in defense and foreign affairs policy, taking active role in delivering solutions that alleviate suffering of people of Syria.”

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