SC: Syria - Chemical Weapons

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Trine Heimerback in the open briefing on the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria, 4 October 2021.

I would like to thank High Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing on the progress towards full elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program.

President, it is regrettable that the Council meets once again this month with no new positive developments in the Syrian dossier. Let me be clear in saying that this trend is simply unsustainable. The international norm against the use of chemical weapons must remain a top priority. The lack of accountability and the deterioration of trust reminds us of the urgency of this issue. The Council cannot be silent amid such a prolonged stasis.

President, we call on Syria to fulfil its obligations in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and Security Council Resolution 2118. We reiterate our strong condemnation of all use of chemical weapons, anytime, by anyone. Immediate attention must be given to full cooperation with the OPCW and the resolution of the 20 outstanding issues. We urge Syria to provide sufficient technical information or explanations to reconcile the identified gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies.

Similarly, it is critical that Syria completes the necessary measures to lift the suspension of its rights and privileges as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

President, the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) was last deployed to Syria in February. We grow increasingly concerned by the delays in their regular deployment and consultations. Every month that these consultations are postponed undermines the priority of ensuring consistent cooperation, exchanges of information, and technical assistance to Syria.

If a meeting will be scheduled to take place in The Hague between the Secretariat and Syrian authorities in October, we urge utmost attention be given to the building of trust and agreement on consistent modalities to prevent any further delays in DAT deployment to Syria. 

President, let me conclude by encouraging progress on the Syrian dossier. We owe it to the victims of such heinous attacks to foster accountability and bring resolution to all outstanding issues.