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Statement by Current and Incoming EU Members of the UNSC (Germany, Belgium, Estonia, France and Ireland), as well as Norway and the UK on Syria chemical weapons, 11 December

11.12.2020 - Press release

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Delivered by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen

 

I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the current and incoming EU Members of the Security Council Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany and Ireland, joined today by the UK and Norway.

We reiterate our full support to the OPCW and its Director General Arias, and underline the complementarity of its work with the United Nations. We have full confidence in the OPCW Technical Secretariat (TS), its professionalism, impartiality and well-established technical expertise in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and tasks assigned by the States Parties. We remain steadfast in defending the Organization against deliberate and baseless attacks on its integrity and credibility. We also reiterate our appreciation of the work carried out by the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms Izumi Nakamitsu.

The use of chemical weapons by anyone – be it a state or a non‐state actor – anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances is a violation of international law and can amount to the most serious crimes of international concern ‐ war crimes and crimes against humanity. The re-emergence of chemical weapons is one of the most urgent threats to international peace and security and has to be dealt with firmly and collectively.

Any use of chemical weapons – wherever it occurs – must be investigated and impunity for the use of chemical weapons must not and will not be tolerated. We reaffirm our commitment, to supporting the OPCW in its efforts to implement the decision of States Parties, in June 2018, to put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic and strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force as concluded by the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) to the OPCW Executive Council and to the Secretary General of the United Nations on 8 April 2020.

We call on States Parties to the OPCW, to fulfil their responsibility and uphold the credibility of the Convention when the draft decision addressing the possession and use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, submitted in November, is examined at the renewed session of the Conference of the State Parties.

Finally, we stress that we will continue to support efforts to gather evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses with a view to future legal action, including through the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) for Syria. And we will stand united to ensure that the IIIM is properly funded to achieve its Mandate.

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