“Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and the lack of accountability for past use of such weapons remains a blight on the conscience of the international community,” said High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu.
Updates from the OPCW
She updated the Ambassadors on the activities of the Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) with its counterparts in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), including a regular monthly call with Director-General Fernando Arias.
Despite the travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19[female[feminine pandemic, the OPCW The Technical Secretariat continued its mandated activities on the elimination of chemical weapons from Syria.
Meanwhile, the OPCW statement assessment team (DAT) continue its ongoing efforts to clarify outstanding issues related to Syria’s statements submitted pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
“I have been informed that the OPCW Secretariat has not yet received the requested declaration…on all undeclared types and quantities of nerve agents produced and/or weaponized at a former chemical weapons production facility … declared by the Syrian Arab Republic as never having been used. produce and/or weaponize chemical warfare agents,” she said.
She also did not receive any information from Syria about the unauthorized movement and the remains of two destroyed cylinders linked to a chemical weapons incident in Douma on April 7, 2018, she continued, urging the government to respond to these requests “as soon as possible”.
Mrs Nakamitsu told the ambassadors that for nearly 10 months, the OPCW tried to schedule talks in Damascus, however, Syria’s ‘persistent refusal’ to issue an entry visa to a member prevented talks there.
Due to the identified deficiencies, inconsistencies and unresolved discrepancies, the OPCW is unable at this stage to assess the statement submitted by Syria and cannot consider it to be accurate and complete in accordance with the CAC.
“I reiterate my appeal to the government…to facilitate arrangements for the deployment of the DAT as soon as possible…it is only through full cooperation…with the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW that all outstanding issues related to the initial declaration of the Syrian Arab Republic can be resolved,” said Ms. Nakamitsu.
“The international community’s confidence in the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program depends on the finalization of these issues.”
The OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) continues to analyze all available information relating to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and prepares for future deployments, subject to developments. the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report by the FFM, there are reasonable grounds to believe that on September 1, 2015, a chemical blistering agent was used. However, it was not possible to establish whether or not chemicals were used as a weapon.
In a separate report into an incident in Kafr Zeita on October 1, 2016, the FFM concluded that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that a bottle of chlorine was indeed “used as a weapon”.
A copy of both FFM reports was shared with the Board earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) continues to investigate incidents in which the FFM has determined that chemical weapons have been or may have been used in Syria and will release further reports. on time.
Only through solidarity and shared humanity can we alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people – UN Disarmament Chief
“Full support” to the OPCW
With primary responsibility for international peace and security, “unity in security Council continues to be needed,” the UN disarmament chief said, adding that those identified as responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.
“Such profound violations of international law cannot continue to be ignored and unresolved,” she recalled, urging members to “put aside” their differences and refocus their efforts to achieve a political solution that would includes basic freedoms and human rights and holds accountable those who use chemical weapons.
“It is only through solidarity and shared humanity that we can alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and move towards justice, peace and reconciliation.