Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Monday that southern European states have great interest in a single European approach to the Syrian peace process, adding that the heads of seven EU states agreed on the introduction of diplomatic initiatives in this direction.
Leaders of seven southern European states agreed on the necessity for the European Union to introduce a new diplomatic initiative on the Syrian settlement, Tsipras.
“We had an opportunity to discuss developments in Syria. … We have great interest in a single European policy which will move toward ensuring peace and stability. This is why we agreed that the European Union should introduce diplomatic initiatives in this direction,” Tsipras said at a press conference held following an informal meeting with the leaders of Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta held near Madrid.
Tsipras did not specify the content of the initiative.
According to Spanish El Pais newspaper, during the informal meeting the seven leaders criticized the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for alleged Idlib chemical attack and expressed their “understanding” of Thursday’s US cruise missile strike against a Syrian military airfield.
On Thursday night, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the military airfield in Ash Sha’irat. US President Donald Trump said that the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria’s Idlib province on Tuesday, which resulted in the death of over 80 people.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem denied the government’s involvement in the Idlib incident, saying it had never used chemical weapons on either civilians or terrorists operating in the country and will never do so.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.
According to Homs Governer Talal Barazi, the US missile hits claimed the lives of at least seven people, including two civilians. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the attack left four Syrian servicemen killed, two missing and six suffering severe injuries from the subsequent fire.
The Syrian army said that a total of 10 people were killed as a result of the attack. The attack also damaged a warehouse, an educational building, a canteen, six MiG-23 fighter jets and a radar station, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.