Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides expressed during the Informal Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, that took place in Vilnius, Lituania, concern with regard to the negative impact a possible prolonged crisis in Syria could have on the Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Speaking during the Council’s deliberations on Sunday, Kasoulides expressed the belief that the EU would condemn both the use and the possession of chemical weapons, an official press release issued here says.

In view of the ongoing discussions regarding the international community’s  reaction  to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the Minister stressed that the reaction should serve both the efforts to end the civil war in the country by reaching a political agreement and the termination of the human catastrophe taking place in the country.

The ongoing developments in Syria and also the Middle East Peace Process and Egypt were the focal point of the discussions of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the second and last day of the Council’s deliberations in which the Secretary of State, John Kerry, also participated.

During the first day of deliberations, in the course of the discussion on Syria, Kasoulides expressed Cyprus’ readiness to assist in the evacuation of citizens from the area if this is deemed necessary. He also expressed great concern with regard to the information regarding the use of chemical weapons in the country.

He reiterated the position that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity, which cannot be without consequences and that the possession of these weapons is also condemnable

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