Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the UN Security Council Briefing on Syria Chemical Weapons, October 5, 2020

06.10.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Mr. President, in the introduction of your long citation, you said that those who questioned the presence of Mr. Bustani here, that we were bringing shame and disgrace to the Council.

So let me ask you,  who brought shame and disgrace to the Council? Was it the 12 countries in this Council who did not vote with you, who tried to prevent a former OPCW official who was not in a position to provide relevant information today? Or was it Russia and China? You said you remember that in 2018 you blocked the Dutch presidency, which tried to bring Zeid Al Hussein, the then-High Commissioner for Human Rights. He was an official who was in his office – he was the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He wanted, and the Dutch presidency wanted him, to brief this Council about the massive human rights violation in Syria, about the mass murders, the disappearances, the rapes. And you [Russia] prevented that. Russia and China prevented that Zeid Al Hussein briefed the Council. This brought shame and disgrace to the Council.

Who brought the shame and disgrace to the Council? Was it the 13 countries around the table who in July were in favor of opening three crossing points in northern Syria to allow humanitarian aid into the country? Or was it China and Russia, who vetoed that and, according to UNICEF, put into danger the lives of 500,000 people, including many children?

Who brings shame and disgrace to the Council? Is it the members here who adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention, or is it Russia, which in 2018 launched a cyber-attack on OPCW in The Hague?

Who brings shame and disgrace to the Council? Is it all the members of the international community who defend the Chemical Weapons Convention and who try to prevent that chemical weapons are used? Or is it Russia, who uses chemical weapons even on its own citizens – on Mr. Navalny, on Mr. Litvinenko, on Mr. Skripal and his daughter?

In your Russian capacity, when will we hear one word from you mourning the victims of the chemical attacks on the Syrian population? More than 1000 people have died. When will we hear mourning about the victims of Assad's regime, those that the witness in the Koblenz trial described – thousands and thousands of people who are killed in the prisons of Assad, who are buried in mass graves. When will we hear mourning from you about this? When will you finally support accountability on these crimes committed by the Syrian regime and therefore allow for reconciliation in that country, which we urgently Need?

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