Canada backs UN probe into Syrian chemical weapons

04/07/2013 05:04 EDT | Updated 06/07/2013 05:12 EDT
Canada will provide up to $2 million in additional financing to support a UN investigation into alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Sunday from the Golan Heights.

Baird, who is currently touring the Middle East, said the money, a credit line for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will be used to purchase equipment and support verification of the alleged chemical weapons use, as well as help protect and assist neighbouring states.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has plunged his country into chaos and is ultimately responsible for any use of chemical weapons that occurs on Syrian territory," said Baird in a written statement.

"We continue to warn the Syrian regime, and all parties in the Syrian conflict, against any use of chemical agents."

The Canadian contribution is already being used to assist the OPCW as it makes necessary logistical arrangements to support the UN investigation, Baird said.

In March, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the United Nations would investigate the possible use by Syria of chemical weapons.

Chemical weapons use is a crime against humanity, Ban said.

In January, through its Global Partnership Program, Canada contributed $2 million to the OPCW for protective equipment for the Jordanian forces in the instance chemical weapons were used.

Canada continues to call on Assad to end the violence, relinquish power and allow a transition to a stable, democratic, pluralistic Syria that lives in peace with its neighbours, Baird said.