27 October 2016 - France is horrified by bombing of school in Idlib
Syria/Chemical weapons - Remarks to the press by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 27 October 2016
The first, we are simply horrified by the bombing yesterday of this school in the village of Hass, in the Idlib governorate. 22 children and 6 teachers killed at their school! This is unbearable. This is horrific. This is outrageous. Who is responsible for that? This is the big question. What it sure is that it can’t be the Syrian opposition, because they have no planes. So it’s either the Syrian regime or somebody else with planes. And if this is not a war crime, frankly what is a war crime? We must hold the perpetrators of those barbarian acts accountable. We will be firm on that. We will also keep up the pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to stop the bombing.
Number two, as we can’t let those barbaric acts unpunished, we can’t let the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime unpunished either. The Security Council itself said it very clearly in its Resolutions 2118 and 2235: those responsible for using chemical weapons must be sanctioned. There is no other way. And behind those barbaric acts in Syria, it is the international security architecture which is in play and the international non-proliferation regime that we, together, patiently built other the last decades that is at stake. So weakness is not an option.
And at this critical juncture, with respect to the JIM future and the sanctions resolution that will come, we appeal to the moral and political responsibility of members of the Security Council to refrain from using their veto on an issue of such gravity, that goes far beyond the traditional division within the Council. In other words, if the Security Council is not able to unite on the proliferation and the use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century, frankly what is the use of the Security Council? So I hope we will be able to overcome our divisions over Syria and to unite on a life and death issue, which is the proliferation and the use of weapons of mass destruction. It is really an appeal I wanted to launch here.
Q: On the chemical weapons attacks, has the UN circulated any kind of sanctions resolution yet?
Not to my knowledge, and as I was saying yesterday, I think it is important to differentiate between what we want as a new resolution extending the mandate of JIM and another resolution sanctioning the perpetrators of the chemical attacks. It is very important for the sake of having some results to differentiate among the two.