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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Syria - Chemical Weapons

Thank you President.

I would like to thank High Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing.

Ireland remains deeply concerned at the lack of progress towards the closure of this file.

The reason for this stasis is Syria’s failure to cooperate in a real and meaningful way with the OPCW. Syria continues its efforts to block the twenty-fifth round of consultations with the Declaration Assessment Team, and to place conditions on the OPCW’s work, contrary to Resolution 2118, and the Chemical Weapons Convention.



Equally, Syria continues its deplorable efforts, supported by Russia, to undermine the work and reputation of the OPCW, and its investigation teams. We remain confident that the Technical Secretariat are carrying out their vital work with the highest degree of professionalism, integrity and impartiality, and reject any baseless claims to the contrary.


Council has given the OPCW a clear mandate to resolve these issues with Syria, and the OPCW should have the full backing of Council in carrying this out.


The importance of this work is made clear by the fact that the OPCW and the UN have so far found that, since 2013, the Syrian authorities have used chemical weapons against its citizens on 8 occasions, with further instances still being investigated.


At the same time, the OPCW has set out 20 significant areas that need to be clarified regarding Syria’s initial declaration. These areas go to the heart of whether Syria retains, or is looking to reconstitute, its chemical weapons capacity.

These are issues that the Council cannot and must not ignore, given their ramifications for the people of Syria, and the region.


Ireland is resolute that there can be no impunity for the use of chemical weapons.


It is essential that Syria ends its pretence at cooperation, and engages in a serious and meaningful way with the Technical Secretariat. The proposed meeting between DG Arias and Foreign Minister Mekdad is outstanding for almost a year, despite the best efforts of the Director General. This meeting must take place urgently, focusing on achieving concrete outcomes.


Syria must take real steps to resolve the outstanding issues urgently and without prevarication. 


It is only through genuine engagement with the OPCW that it can provide real assurance that its chemical weapon programme is verifiably and definitively destroyed.


President, until we see real movement in this direction, it remains essential that Council upholds the international legal norm against chemical weapons, by holding Syria to its obligations under Resolution 2118 and the CWC, and supporting the OPCW in its mandated task.


 Thank you Mr. President.

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