Mr. President,

 

Distinguished Members of the Security Council,

I thank Council members for the opportunity to brief you again on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.

 

Since the last consideration of this matter by the Council and consistent with established practice, the Office for Disarmament Affairs has been in regular contact with its counterparts at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its activities related to this matter. Per established practice, I held a monthly call with the OPCW DirectorGeneral on 23 September 2022, to receive an update on developments and ascertain his views.

 

Mr. President,

 

Efforts by the OPCW Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) to clarify all the outstanding issues regarding the initial declaration and subsequent declarations of the Syrian Arab Republic remain as previously outlined.

 

Unfortunately, the Syrian Arab Republic continues to place conditions on the DAT’s deployment, in contravention of its declaration-related obligations, as well as its obligations to cooperate with the OPCW as stipulated under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the decisions of the OPCW policy-making organs, and relevant resolutions of the Security Council. Consequently, the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s attempts to organise the twentyfifth round of consultations between the DAT and the Syrian National Authority in Damascus continue to be unsuccessful.

 

In light of this situation and subject to a change in attitude by the Syrian Arab Republic, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has proposed to address the shortcomings of Syria’s initial declaration through the exchange of correspondence, even if such exchanges demonstrably bring fewer outcomes when compared to the DAT’s deployments to the Syrian Arab Republic, as was the case for the period between June 2016 and April 2019.

 

With the aim of assisting the Syrian Arab Republic in resolving the 20 outstanding issues, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has provided the Syrian Arab Republic with the list of pending declarations and other documents requested by the DAT since 2019.

 

I have been advised that the OPCW Technical Secretariat has not yet received the requested information from the Syrian Arab Republic regarding the unauthorised movement of the two cylinders related to the chemical weapon incident that took place in Douma on 7 April 2018, that were destroyed in an attack on a chemical weapons production facility. The Syrian Arab Republic must respond with urgency to the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s requests.

 

Mr. President,

 

Full cooperation by the Syrian Arab Republic with the OPCW Technical Secretariat is essential to closing all outstanding issues. As has been stressed on a monthly basis for many years now, due to the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, the Technical Secretariat continues to assess that, at this stage, the declaration submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic cannot be considered accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

The OPCW Technical Secretariat remains fully committed to ensuring the full implementation by the Syrian Arab Republic of all its declaration requirements and to assisting Syria in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention. I take this opportunity to reiterate my full support for the integrity, professionalism, impartiality, objectivity, and independence of the work of the OPCW.

 

Mr. President,

 

I have been informed that the OPCW Technical Secretariat is currently planning the 2022 rounds of inspections of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC). With regard to the detection of a Schedule 2 chemical at these facilities in November 2018, I regret to inform the Council that the Syrian Arab Republic has yet to provide sufficient technical information or explanations that would enable the OPCW Technical Secretariat to close this issue.

 

With regard to the invitation extended by the OPCW Director-General to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic to an in-person meeting, I note that, while the Syrian Arab Republic has suggested the meeting to take place in Beirut, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested clarifications from the Syrian Arab Republic as it has not yet received a response on the latest version of the proposed agenda submitted on 20 December 2021.

 

As per previous briefings informing the Council, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission remains in the process of studying all available information related to allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. I have been advised that the FFM continues to engage with the Syrian Arab Republic and other States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention with regard to a number of incidents and preparing for upcoming deployments.

 

Mr. President,

 

The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) continues its investigations into incidents in which the FFM has determined that chemical weapons were used or likely used in the Syrian Arab Republic. The IIT will issue further reports in due course.

 

On the decision entitled “Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic” (C-25/DEC.9) adopted on 21 April 2021, I have been informed that, unfortunately, the Syrian Arab Republic has not yet completed any of the measures stipulated in paragraph 5 of decision EC-94/DEC.2. The OPCW Technical Secretariat will continue to engage with the Syrian Arab Republic with regard to their completion and will continue to report to the OPCW Executive Council as mandated.

 

Mr. President,

 

Distinguished Members of the Security Council,

The preamble of the Chemical Weapons Convention calls upon us “to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons”. Such use is indefensible and constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be identified and held accountable. It is an obligation on all of us. I reiterate my call for unity in this Council, a body that has demonstrated how much it can accomplish when determined to work towards a common goal. The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs stands ready to provide whatever support and assistance it can.

I thank you very much for your attention.

 

Source: UN Office for Disarmament Affairs

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Mr. President,   Distinguished Members of the Security Council, I thank Council members for the opportunity to brief you again on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.   Since the last consideration of this matter by the Council and...