President Khoja yesterday delivered a speech at United Nations headquarters on the Day of Remembrance for all victims of chemical warfare. Yesterday marks the hundredth anniversary of the first large-scale use of chemical weapons, which took place during World War I.
“Syrians are among those victims. Syrians have suffered the torment of chemical weapons, barrel bombs, ballistic missiles, torture, siege and starvation at the hands of a dictator who has used all means to suppress the rights of the Syrian people to freedom and dignity,” Khoja said.
“Words are not enough. Condemnations have not stopped Assad’s aerial bombardment. Strong statements will not end ISIL’s terror. Even the Council’s resolutions on humanitarian access and the prevention of chemical weapons have not had the desired impact. For example, the Syrian Network for Human Rights has listed 87 violations of UN Security Council resolution 2118 on chemical weapons. Despite the efforts of some, none of the steps taken by the international community has made the difference we need. We need action to immediately stop the killing. We need protection to put the country on track for a political solution based on the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.”
Khoja went on: “The political opposition, and particularly the Syrian Coalition, is making progress. We have worked hard to move from the mindset of opposition to that of a state. We are leading the effort, through open dialogue with the rest of the political opposition groups, including Building the Syrian State Movement, and National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, to unite our political efforts and positions within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué.”
“We have initiated joint meetings with moderate armed groups on fighting extremism and maintaining a large part of the military, security and civil state institutions during the transitional phase. The first consultative meeting, held on April 25 and attended by the majority of the military factions fighting the Assad regime and ISIL, was a step towards forming a comprehensive national consensus on the parameter of a political solution, and towards an agreement on establishing a civil democratic state.”
“We appeal to you to take the following steps. First, implement your resolutions on the delivery of humanitarian aid and the prohibition of chlorine gas. Second, emphasize accountability as a component in the political solution. Third, we urge you to take effective steps to stop the barrel bombs by establishing safe zones. Such zones will contribute to a political solution and will serve the immediate goal of saving lives and alleviating human suffering.”