I have noted the decision by President Obama on 14 June to review current US support to the Syrian civilian opposition and, in particular, expand US assistance to the Syrian Supreme Military Council to include military assistance.
Given the continuous deterioration of the Syrian crisis with a death toll now estimated at more than 93,000 and an unprecedented humanitarian emergency now affecting Syria and its neighbours, I continue to remain very firmly of the view that the provision of further arms and weapons is unlikely to assist current international efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully. On the contrary, such a step runs the clear risk of contributing to further violence and militarisation of the conflict as well as initiating an arms race in and outside Syria, with daunting consequences for the stability and security of the wider region.
Ireland's view remains that what is now required is a strategy of de-escalation of the violence in Syria and the pursuit of wide-ranging diplomatic efforts aimed at bringing all sides to the negotiating table to agree on a political solution to the crisis. Ireland and the EU have expressed their full support to the recent US-Russia initiative to convene an international conference on Syria (Geneva II) with a view to mapping out a genuine transition towards democracy in Syria. In its May 27 Conclusions, the Foreign Affairs Council, which I attended, urged both sides to respond positively to the US-Russia initiative and to engage openly in a genuine process of negotiation. It also reaffirmed that the EU will spare no effort in helping to create the appropriate conditions for a successful convening of the conference.
Ireland will continue to work with all European and international partners, including the US, towards achieving a peaceful political settlement of the Syrian crisis and towards mobilising all possible assistance on the part of the international community to address the appalling humanitarian crisis.