Syria/non-proliferation: our historic responsibility [fr]
Non-renewing of the JIM mandate - Vote explanation by Mr. François Delattre - Security Council - 24 October 2017
"By failing to renew the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), we are depriving ourselves of the possibility of documenting the cases of use of these weapons not only by the Syrian army, but also by non-State actors. It is a new kind of threat for which we must prepare ourselves.", François Delattre, 24 October 2017.
France deeply regrets the result of this vote. The ongoing reports of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) show that chemical-weapon attacks in Syria have never ceased. That justifies, more than ever, the continuation of investigations to identify and punish those responsible, in the light of, among other things, the latest conclusions of the Fact-finding Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic on a sarin attack in Al-Latamneh, in north-western Syria, on 30 March.
Today’s vote was therefore yet another squandered opportunity. By failing to renew the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), we are depriving ourselves of the possibility of documenting the cases of use of these weapons not only by the Syrian army, but also by non-State actors. It is a new kind of threat for which we must prepare ourselves.
We regret that the mandate renewal could not be adopted today, as it should of course have been, with pragmatism and responsibility, free from all politicization, to ensure the continuity of the work of the JIM. The Mechanism has proved itself. It is therefore our shared responsibility to build the consensus necessary to end the use of chemical weapons in Syria and prevent their re-emergence elsewhere. I would like to recall that 192 States, including Syria, have committed to renouncing the use of chemical weapons. Beyond the specific responsibility of the States parties, including Russia, we must all protect and strengthen the chemical non-proliferation regime.
As the final conclusions of the Mechanism approach, France will never give up. My country will not resign itself to tolerating the deconstruction of the non-proliferation regime. On the contrary, our priority must remain the full and complete dismantling of the Syrian chemical-weapon programme and the fight against impunity. In that spirit, France fully supports and reiterates its full confidence in the existing mechanisms of the United Nations and the OPCW.
France considers compliance with non-proliferation commitments to be among the most fundamental standards of international relations. Their violation is a danger to us all. We must therefore send a message of strength, including by identifying the perpetrators of these crimes. Any hope of lasting peace and stability in Syria requires the truth. That is a priority for France.
This hope also calls for a political solution leading to a negotiated democratic transition, in accordance with resolution 2254 (2015) and the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex). That is the aim of France’s efforts to establish a contact group to actively support the mediation of Mr. Staffan de Mistura.
As we celebrate United Nations Day today, I believe that it is important to put everything that is at stake into perspective.
The international non-proliferation regimes are among the most important shared achievements of recent decades. Let us make no mistake — these regimes are the backbone of international peace and security. Yet they are being put to the test today, from the nuclear programme of North Korea to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, not to mention many other threats all over the world.
On behalf of France, I would therefore like to appeal today for our extraordinary vigilance and for action. Let us not allow political differences — or, worse, short-term tactical calculations — to undermine those regimes.
The continued existence and solidity of the international non-proliferation regimes are of vital importance to our common security. That is why it is the responsibility of the international community, and of the Security Council in particular, to maintain and strengthen them. And that is why today’s negative vote is not and cannot be the last word.
France therefore solemnly calls on all States members of the Security Council to come together around the essential issues that I have outlined and to build the necessary consensus before the mandate of the JIM lapses in mid-November in order to renew it. We should all be aware that this is our historic responsibility.