Syria/chemical: no progress has been made [fr]
SYRIA – CHEMICAL WEAPONS
STATEMENT BY MR. NICOLAS DE RIVIERE,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
New York, 05 November 2020
=Translation from French=
I thank Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing. As has been the case every month for far too long, we have once again witnessed the complete lack of cooperation by the Syrian regime.
I wish to emphasize three points.
First, last July, the OPCW Executive Council called on Syria to comply with its obligations and gave it 90 days to redress the situation. The Director-General of the OPCW therefore sent us a report a few days ago, which takes stock of the implementation of this decision.
The report is two pages long and its conclusion is clear: no, and I insist, no progress has been made. This must be a challenge for us. We hope that the Conference of States Parties that will begin on 30 November in The Hague will draw full lessons from it.
In 2013, the Syrian regime committed to cooperating in transparency and good faith with the OPCW. To say the least, it has not kept its word. Seven years after resolution 2118 we still don’t know the state of Syria’s chemical stockpiles.
Secondly, I would like to recall that the regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against its own people unfortunately no longer needs to be demonstrated. In April this year, the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team, after a rigorous investigation, published a damning report which established that chemical weapon attacks were carried out in Ltamenah in March 2017 by units of the regime’s air force.
In this context, I wish to stress the professionalism and impartiality of the OPCW and condemn all attempts by those who seek to discredit this Organisation, which is so important for our collective security.
Finally, I wish to stress that the use of chemical weapons, wherever, whenever and by whomever and under whatever circumstances, is unacceptable and constitutes a crime that threatens all humanity. The re-emergence of chemical weapons is one of the most serious threats we have to deal with in this Council. The Council reiterated this in clear terms in its Presidential Statement of November 2019.
As President Macron recalled on 21 September, "taboos that were thought to be inviolable have been lifted". No impunity in this regard can be tolerated. This is why France, along with 40 other countries and the European Union, has been leading the international partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons since 2018. Restoring the credibility of the prohibition regime is also one of the conditions for a just and lasting peace in Syria on the basis of Resolution 2254.