Thank you High Representative Nakamitsu for your briefing on progress in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Let me begin by commending the Secretariat for conducting the ninth round of inspections of the Barzah and Jamrayah Scientific Studies and Research Centre facilities from 11 to 18 September 2022.
Their twice-yearly inspections are important for fostering a spirit of positive engagement and dialogue between the Secretariat and the Syrian authorities. As well as for the collection of information to determine whether activities at the facilities were consistent with the obligations of Syria under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We hope this inspection will catalyse beneficial discussions on other topics for cooperation- including preparations for a meeting between Director General Arias and Minister Mekdad.
In order to fully implement Security Council Resolution 2118, there remains numerous roadblocks to overcome, and issues that require immediate attention.
The OPCW has requested further information about a reported attack on a former chemical weapons production facility- which apparently contained equipment of relevance to an ongoing OPCW investigation. The OPCW has also requested the declaration of all undeclared types, and quantities, of nerve agents- produced, and/or weaponized- at a certain former chemical weapons production facility.
It is vital that Syria complies with these requests, and cooperates fully with the OPCW. Similarly, there remain 20 outstanding issues from Syria’s initial declaration that are unresolved. We will continue to urge Syria to provide sufficient technical information and explanations to close these outstanding issues.
Finally, 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.