Blok: Netherlands supports Idlib no-fly zone

ZAGREB – Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok said in a statement on Friday that, “ the cease-fire agreement, which was concluded by Moscow and Ankara in the Syrian Idlib region, must be strengthened by setting up a no-fly zone to prevent any hospitals being bombed.”

“It would be wise to add a no-fly zone to the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement in Idlib,” Blok told reporters upon his arrival today to the Croatian capital Zagreb to attend a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

He added, “I think European countries are very willing to go forward … to persuade all members of the United Nations Security Council to establish that no-fly zone.” Blok noted that this would not hinder the fight against Al-Qaeda terrorists but would stop the bombing of hospitals in Idlib.

Blok called for ensuring international supervision of the no-fly regime over Idlib, to identify those responsible for possible violations, adding that, “Ideally, the UN Security Council should issue a mandate for this oversight mission.”

Blok also called for the EU to hold consultations with Russia and Turkey on the need to reduce the escalation in Idlib and to launch a political process there in order to end the conflict, saying that, “Small and modest steps should be taken to serve this goal, foremost of which is strengthening security and building trust.” He stressed that he would raise the idea at Fridays’ Foreign Affairs Council meeting.