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SC: Syria - Chemical Weapons

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback in the open briefing on the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria, 3 June 2021.

Thank you to High Representative Nakamitsu for your briefing on the monthly report on the progress towards full elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program. Thank you also to Director General Arias. I would like to reiterate Norway’s steadfast confidence in you, and the work of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW.

Norway regrets to note that the monthly report from the OPCW yet again describes very little progress. It is disappointing to hear that the planned May deployment of the Declaration Assessment Team did not happen.

We are also concerned that the Syrian Arab Republic has not responded to the DAT’s proposed re-scheduled deployment. We encourage the Syrian authorities to respond in a timely fashion, so that the DAT can confirm its next round of inspections. Inspections remain an essential component of the verification regime, to ensure that activities are consistent with the objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

President,

We reiterate our concern that such a large number of issues remain outstanding – now numbering 20 in total.

We urge Syria to fully cooperate with the OPCW, and provide further information about: the types, and quantities, of chemical agents produced and/or weaponized in certain inspected facilities.

Again, the Syrian Arab Republic must fulfil its obligations in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and Security Council Resolution 2118. And we call on Syria to complete the necessary measures in order to lift the suspension of its rights and privileges as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

President,

The elimination of chemical weapons in Syria requires urgency. For far too long numerous issues have been left outstanding, and many questions have been left unanswered. Both for the international community, and the people of Syria.

Accountability for the use of chemical weapons remains a priority. And we reiterate the statement of the ‘International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons’ of 18 May- which Norway fully supports.

There is a global norm against the use of chemical weapons. As a Council, we cannot ignore violations, and allow this vital international norm to erode.