EU urges 'strong' Syria response, swift action on weapons pla

EU urges 'strong' Syria response, swift action on weapons pla
President Jose Manuel Barroso

STRASBOURG - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday said "a strong response" was needed to the use of chemical weapons and urged Damascus "without delay" to show readiness to destroy them.

Delivering his annual "state of the union" speech before the European Parliament, Barroso said "the use of chemical weapons is a horrendous act that deserves a clear condemnation and a strong answer."

"The international community, with the United Nations at its centre, carries a collective responsibility to sanction these acts and to put an end to this conflict," he told the 751-member house.

"The proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons beyond use is potentially a positive development," he added.

"The Syrian regime must now demonstrate that it will implement this without any delay."

He recalled too that the 28-member bloc had been the world's leading aid donor since the two-and-a-half year conflict began, delivering almost 1.5 billion euros in aid, of which 850 million were directly from the European Union budget.

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