EU members of Security Council regret Turkey's continued military operation in Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-17 05:32:05|Editor: Xiaoxia
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German Ambassador to the United Nations Christoph Heusgen (3rd L) briefs journalists on the situation in northeast Syria, at the UN headquarters in New York, Oct. 16, 2019. The European Union (EU) members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday regretted Turkey's continued military operations in northeast Syria despite repeated calls for an end to Ankara's military adventure. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday regretted Turkey's continued military operation in northeast Syria despite repeated calls for an end to Ankara's military adventure.

Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and Poland -- the EU members of the Security Council -- plus Estonia, the incoming EU member of the council, issued a joint statement after the Security Council held closed-door consultations on the situation in northeast Syria.

The statement recalled the conclusions of the EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday, in which the EU and its member states condemned Turkey's unilateral military action in northeast Syria and urged Turkey to cease it.

"We deeply regret that Turkey has not responded yet to these repeated appeals from its allies," said the statement read out to reporters by Christoph Heusgen, the German UN ambassador, on behalf of the six countries.

"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 front lines that could further risk destabilizing the region," said the statement.

Turkey's military operation also significantly undermines the progress in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), with the terrorist group remaining a threat to European and Turkish security as well as in the region and internationally, said the statement.

The secure detention of terrorist fighters is imperative in order to prevent them from joining the ranks of terrorist groups, it said.

The EU members call for a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh in order to address the continuation of its efforts in the current context, said the statement. Daesh is the Arabic-language acronym of the IS.

The continued efforts of the international community, including those at the UN Security Council, in order to stop Turkey's unilateral military action, are urgently needed, said the statement.

The six EU countries repeated their urgent call on Turkey to act in accordance with international humanitarian law.

They said Turkey is a key partner of the European Union, a NATO ally and a critically important actor in the Syrian crisis and in the region, adding that they recognize Turkey's important role as a host country of Syrian refugees.

The six EU countries reiterated their commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and stressed 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 refugees and internally displaced people to their places of origin must be safe, voluntary and dignified, in line with international humanitarian law and the principles of the UN refugee agency.

Wednesday's Security Council meeting was requested by the five EU members.

The council members expressed deep concern over the risk of the spreading of terrorists and the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, but they stopped short of calling for an end to Turkey's military action.