The European Union announced today financial support of €12 million to help destroy Syrian chemical stockpiles, by contributing to a Trust Fund established by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
The use of chemical weapons in Syria in August 2013 was firmly condemned by the international community and a number of initiatives including the creation of such a Trust Fund were set out to respond to the challenge of destroying the chemical stockpiles, which started by the end of September last year.
The contribution was pledged by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in December last year and become today a reality with the signing of the contract by EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs.
High Representative Catherine Ashton said: “I welcome the significant effort made by all concerned to ensure that the pledge made to the OPCW in December has been fulfilled. This is an important step, which complements the Geneva peace negotiations, since the OPCW track helps to build much-needed confidence.
EU:s support for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons demonstrates the EU’s commitment to ensuring that these terrible weapons are not used again and to finding a peaceful and durable solution for the crisis in that country.”
As part of this, the EU is active in the Middle East as a region with initiatives such as the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) Risk Mitigation.
The activities covered by this programme include the transport, treatment and disposal of the chemical materials and effluents outside Syria, and will be implemented jointly by the OPCW and the United Nations, in order to secure their safe and environmentally sound destruction.
Overall, European Commission and EU Member States together have mobilised €2.6 billion development and humanitarian aid so far in response to Syrian crisis, making the EU the biggest donor.
In 2013 alone, the Commission has provided €280 million in development assistance under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), €350 million in humanitarian relief, and €65 million under other aid instruments, which brings the amount of aid last year to almost €700 million.
For more information Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs: Press corner.
- 2012 Nobel Peace Prize winner supports 2013 winner in Challenging Times.