Thank you, High Representative Nakamitsu, for your briefing on progress in the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program.
It is an unfortunate reality that we must convene amid no new progress made on this file – not just in the past month, but in reality, for the entirety of 2022.
It is clear that Syria is still not fulfilling its obligations in line with the Chemical Weapons Convention and Security Council resolution 2118.
First, Syria has an obligation to cooperate with the OPCW.
However, there have been no consultations between the Declaration Assessment Team and the Syrian authorities since Spring 2021.
This is due to the Syrian authorities’ refusal to issue a visa to the DAT’s lead technical expert.
This stagnation is simply not tenable.
We urge Syria to follow up on the offer for an exchange of correspondence, provide the information requested, and engage again with the DAT.
Second, Syria must provide the sufficient technical information and explanations requested by the OPCW.
There still remain 20 outstanding disparities and inconsistencies from Syria’s initial declaration.
Furthermore, the OPCW has requested additional information related to several former chemical weapons production facilities.
We urge Syria to comply with these requests for information.
Third, and finally, it is critical that Syria undertakes the measures necessary to lift the suspension of its rights and privileges as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We must not tolerate impunity and allow this essential global prohibition against the use of chemical weapons to erode.