Syria: the Security Council has to take its responsibilities
Syria - Remarks to the press by François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 24 February 2017
Just a few things about the very important consultations that we are about to have on the chemical weapons in Syria.
We now have the clear evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria against civilian populations, and we also have converging indications that such weapons continue to be used in this country. If you think about it, on a scale of threats to peace and security, we are at 10 here.
So the "doing nothing" attitude, or the "talking only" attitude are not an option confronted with such a threat. That’s why we consider that the time has come to move forward. The Security Council has to take its responsibilities. We’ve been working on the text for months. No stone has been left unturned; nobody is taken by surprise here. Of course, we continue to work, and we’ll continue until the last moment, because the objective here, given the very high stake that I was referring to, is to get the unity of the Security Council, if we can achieve it. So until the last moment we’ll continue the discussions, the negotiations.
Q: Ambassador, when are you going to put your resolution up for a vote?
We don’t have a specific timing yet. It will also depend on the consultations that we are about to have and the spirit of them. And we’ll assess the situation right after the consultations to see when. But again, the problem now is not a question of if, the question is really when.
Q: Is there consensus in the Council on the resolution?
That’s a good question because it’s our goal. Frankly, if the Security Council is not able to unite on such a vital, literally vital question of proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, then what? So what is at stake here frankly is the credibility of the Security Council. And that’s why in good faith, in the best possible spirit, until the last moment we want to achieve the unanimity of the Security Council, that would be a very powerful message. Don’t forget that what is at stake here is also deterrence of such actions in the future. And if we are united, without any second thoughts whatsoever, just united to say ‘We the council consider that the use of weapons of mass destruction is just unacceptable and needs to be sanctioned, punished’, that would be a very powerful message for the future to deter such actions.
Q: On DRC, is there going to be a press statement and is MONUSCO going to send troops into Kasaï? There was at AOB yesterday on that topic.
At our request it was a very important AOB, and we proposed a press statement yesterday afternoon that we are negotiating as we speak. Not only on the situation in the Kasaï, but also to push for the full implementation of the December Accord. And for that, in our views, one of the key priorities is the appointment of a Prime minister. And once it’s been done, then we think that we can create a momentum in DRC. That’s what we want.
Q: Ambassador, any concern that it will derail the conversations that just started in Geneva?
No because, we consider the time has come to move forward, even we don’t have any specific timeframe yet, and we very much support Staffan De Mistura efforts, as we speak, to succeed in Geneva. We all know it’s difficult but he has our strong support. Our team in Geneva has been working very hard with the opposition to make sure the opposition is represented and as united as possible at the table. We very much support direct talks between the regime and the opposition. And so, no we don’t see any contradiction at all.