I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the five EU Member States on the Security Council (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom), joined today by Estonia as incoming EU Member State on the Security Council:
We support the press elements read by the president of the Security Council, on behalf of the Security Council.
We recall the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday in which the EU and its Member states condemned Turkey’s unilateral military action in North East Syria and urged Turkey to cease it.
We deeply regret that Turkey has not responded yet to these repeated appeals from its allies. We do not believe Turkey’s unilateral military action will resolve its underlying security concerns. Turkey’s ongoing military action seriously undermines the stability and security of the whole region, resulting in more civilian suffering, displacement and the severe hindering of access to humanitarian assistance. It makes the prospects for the UN-led political process to achieve peace in Syria more difficult and opens new frontlines that could further risk destabilizing the region.
It also significantly undermines the progress achieved so far by the Global Coalition against Da'esh, with Da’esh remaining a threat to European and Turkish security as well as in the region and internationally. The secure detention of terrorist fighters is imperative in order to prevent them from joining the ranks of terrorist groups. The EU Members call for a ministerial meeting of the International Coalition against Da’esh in order to address the continuation of its efforts in the current context.
The continued efforts of the international community, including here at the UN Security Council, in order to stop this unilateral military action are urgently needed. We repeat our urgent call on Turkey to act in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Turkey is a key partner of the European Union, a NATO ally and a critically important actor in the Syrian crisis and the region. We recognize Turkey’s important role as a host country of Syrian refugees.
We remain committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian state. These can be assured only through a genuine political transition in line with UNSCR 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communique, negotiated by the Syrian parties within the UN-led Geneva process.
We stress again that the EU will not provide stabilization or development assistance in areas where the rights of local populations are ignored or violated. The EU maintains its position that the return of refugee and IDP to their places of origin must be safe, voluntary and dignified, in line with international humanitarian law and UNHCR principles.