Lower House Supports Cabinet on Syria
THE HAGUE, 30/08/13 - The Lower House supports the main lines of the cabinet on the Syria question. The government considers that international intervention should not take place before the UN inspectors present there have issued their official report.
The support of the House emerged Thursday in the debate that the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs held with Foreign Minister FransTimmermans. There is a difference of opinion however on the question of what should happen if the UN inspectors determine that poison gas was used by the regime of President Assad.
Socialist Party (SP) MP Van Bommel considers that the international community should only move towards action if there is unanimous support for this in the Security Council. Conservative (VVD) MP Ten Broeke however said that "you cannot make yourself dependent on countries like Russia and China. They will likely exercise a veto in any case.”
PvdA MP Servaes considers “a good legal basis” a necessary condition for intervention. “Military intervention never really solves a conflict. This has to happen at the negotiating table. It is therefore of great importance that we do not alienate the Russians and Chinese, as we will really need them in future in order to arrive at a political solution.”
Christian democratic (CDA) MP Omtzigt also considers that if it is established that Assad has used poison gas, a last attempt must be made to win the support of Russia and China for reprisals. “At the end of the day, these countries have also signed the treaty against the use of chemical weapons.”
The parties also differ on the question of what means would be appropriate in reprisal. For example, the SP considers that a weapons embargo would be most likely. Other parties, such as the VVD, do not rule out limited use of force.
Timmermans had already informed the House by letter on Wednesday that he first wanted to await the results of the investigation by the UN inspectors in Syria into the attack. The investigation of the samples taken in Damascus could take a few weeks or longer.
If chemical weapons have been used, this must have consequences, according to the minister. It is then important that the UN determines the subsequent step. All parties in general supported this line.
The cabinet has received no request to participate in a possible military operation in Syria, according to Timmermans. He sees “no reason at the moment” to withdraw the Dutch Patriots from Turkey. These are protecting the southern Turkish city of Adana and its population.