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SC: Syria - Chemical Weapons

Statement by Permanent Representative Mona Juul in the UN Security Council open briefing on Syria / Chemical Weapons, 4 March 2021.

I would like to thank the High Representative for Disarmament Ms. Nakamitsu for her statement.

The Council meets every month to discuss this issue of utmost importance.

I regret to note, however, that the lack of progress towards full disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons programme makes us repeat ourselves.

President,

This month marks 10 years since the start of the conflict in Syria.

The sheer length of the conflict does not make the issue any less relevant, or mean that we should stop discussing it.

On the contrary, the lack of accountability, and the deterioration of trust, reminds us of the importance and the urgency of the issue.

Yet, the monthly report from the OPCW on progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme once again states clearly that there is no progress.

Again, 19 of the 22 issues from Syria’s initial declaration remain outstanding.

We do however note that the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) has been deployed to Syria in February for its 24th round of consultations.

We look forward to hearing their findings as soon as possible.

Again, we urge the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate fully with the OPCW and resolve all outstanding issues from its initial declaration.

I would also repeat that Norway remains aligned with the European Union’s restrictive measures on persons and entities involved in the development and use of chemical weapons.

President,

Let me also reiterate our full confidence in the OPCW and its technical secretariat.

Norway firmly rejects attempts to discredit or bring into disrepute the OPCW and the work of the Technical Secretariat.

President,

The use of chemical weapons in Syria contravenes international law, and accountability for those responsible must be ensured.

It is untenable that no one has been held accountable for these actions.

We deeply regret needing to come back to the Council month after month to repeat this call, yet we will continue to do so until progress is made:

The Syrian Arab Republic must fulfil its obligations in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Those responsible must be held accountable through credible national or international criminal justice mechanisms.

And the issue must be addressed seriously by this Council.