31 October 2016 - Syria: weakness and division cannot be an option [fr]
Syria/Adoption resolution 2314 - Explanation of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 31 October 2016
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2314 (2016). France wholeheartedly supports the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and therefore, of course, today’s resolution, which enables us to extend the JIM’s mandate until 18 November. We hope that this is simply a preparatory step before the full and complete renewal of the mandate for another year. We urge all Council members to commit immediately and in good faith to that effort.
The JIM’s latest report (S/2016/888) leaves no more room for doubt. We know that the Syrian Arab Army and Da’esh have not hesitated to use chemical weapons against civilians in Syria on at least four separate occasions. In addition to the overwhelming evidence against the Syrian regime and Da’esh, this especially serious and unacceptable attack undermines the non-proliferation and our collective security as a whole.
Given such dire stakes, political divisions within the Council on the Syrian conflict must be set aside so that we can act. Given such dire stakes, action is not an option but a necessity, and it is our responsibility. We cannot allow violations of international law prohibiting chemical weapons and their use, and we cannot take the risk of allowing such actions to become commonplace. It is up to all members of the Security Council to shoulder their responsibilities pursuant to the commitment undertaken in establishing the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).We need to draw all the appropriate lessons from the reports issued by the Mechanism and ensure that those crimes reported do not go unpunished. As Foreign Minister Ayrault has said repeatedly and openly, France is in favour of the eventual adoption of a resolution under Chapter VII to sanction the perpetrators of the chemical attacks, as identified by the JIM. Given the serious nature of those crimes, it is of paramount importance that we ensure that the JIM continues to function so that any further resort to chemical weapons against civilians will be reported.
The Joint Investigative Mechanism has fully lived up to our expectations by reaching accurate findings in very difficult circumstances, despite failing to enjoy the full cooperation of all actors. The Mechanism was established upon a unanimous decision of the Security Council. There is therefore no question about its legitimacy. France commends the commitment and professionalism of its members and the rigour and earnest of their methodology.
Let us call a spade a spade. If the Security Council is not in a position to shoulder its responsibilities vis-à-vis the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction — in this case, chemical weapons — against civilian populations, its credibility and utility will be at stake. France therefore calls on all members of the Security Council to come together, set aside our differences about the Syrian conflict to put a swift end to the use of chemical weapons and hold the perpetrators to account. When proliferation and the use of weapons of mass destruction are at stake, weakness and division for tactical purposes cannot be an option.