I would like to thank the High Representative for Disarmament, Ms. Nakamitsu, for her briefing on the progress towards full elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program.
Let me start by underlining Norway’s consistent message: that the Syrian Arab Republic must fulfil its obligations in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and Security Council Resolution 2118. Today, I would like to highlight four items that require immediate attention, in this regard:
First and most urgently, there are 20 outstanding issues from Syria’s initial declaration that stand unresolved. We urge Syria to provide sufficient technical information and explanation to close these outstanding gaps.
Second, we regret that persistent delays remain in the issuance of visas to the Declarations Assessment Team (DAT). Regular DAT consultations are important for ensuring consistent cooperation, exchanges of information, and providing technical assistance to Syria. In this regard, I would also like to underline Syria’s obligation to cooperate fully with the OPCW. Resolution 2118 explicitly mentions Syria’s obligation to: accept personnel designated by the OPCW; to provide these personnel with immediate and unfettered access; and the right to inspect any and all sites.
Third, 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 comply with these requests.
And fourth, 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.
Let me conclude by underlining that cooperation is essential for settling all unresolved issues, and finally achieving this 8-year-long effort to ensure the full elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program.