France deplores the lack of progress on the Syria chemical file [fr]
STATEMENT BY MS. NATHALIE BROADHURST, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
= Translation from French =
New York, le 10 September 2020
I thank Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu for her intervention.
Seven years after the chemical attacks on the Ghouta by the regime and the adoption of resolution 2118, France deplores the lack of progress on the Syria chemical file. Several questions have been unanswered to this day on the Syrian regime’s stocks. It is imperative that the Syrian regime shed full light on its initial declaration and cooperate actively with all the teams of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). If the regime has nothing to hide, if the chemical weapons file is closed as some claim, why does it not cooperate fully with the OPCW Technical Secretariat? The security of civilian populations, already heavily affected by repeated attacks, is at stake.
The responsibility of the Syrian regime in the use of chemical weapons against its own population leaves no doubt. The conclusions of international investigation mechanisms are without appeal. The first report of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) independently and impartially established last April that sarin and chlorine had been used by the Syrian regime’s air force units in chemical attacks in Ltamenah in March 2017, resulting in dozens of casualties. These findings add to those of the Joint Investigation Mechanism of the UN and the OPCW, which was established by the members of this Council.
In the face of the unprecedented challenge to the chemical weapons non-proliferation regime that we are facing today, it is our collective responsibility to reaffirm the founding principles of our collective security.
This is why France welcomed the adoption in July by the OPCW Executive Council of the decision proposed on behalf of 40 co-sponsors. This decision condemned the violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention and enjoined Syria to comply with its obligations or expose itself to collective measures. The next Conference of States Parties in November will consider the report of the OPCW Director General on the responses provided by the Syrian regime to the Technical Secretariat and may take action accordingly on this basis. France has full confidence in the unquestionable professionalism, integrity and impartiality of the OPCW teams.
Finally, France will continue to support the accountability mechanisms that we have put in place to combat impunity, such as the International Independent and Impartial Mechanism (IIIM). The fight against impunity is an essential element in preserving international peace and security and in setting the conditions for a just and lasting peace in Syria, in accordance with resolution 2254 (2004).
The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable wherever, whenever, by whomever and under whatever circumstances. It constitutes a threat to international peace and security, as affirmed by the Security Council in its presidential statement of 22 November 2019. This is France’s constant position against the use of chemical weapons and for the perpetrators of chemical attacks to be punished. It knows and will not know any exception either in Syria or elsewhere. France will continue to work actively to that end, in close cooperation with its partners, in particular through the international partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Thank you.