Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Syria - Chemical Weapons
Statement29 April 2022
Thank you very much Madam President and I want to thank you, High Representative Nakamitsu, for your briefing today.
As others have noted, today we mark 25years since the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The Convention’s aim, making the world safe from the threat of chemical weapons, through a comprehensive and verifiable ban, is as important now today as ever.
On this important anniversary, Ireland takes the opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering support for the OPCW, its Director General, and the staff of the Technical Secretariat.
A key element of the Convention is the establishment of the OPCW to ensure a credible, transparent verification regime, to verify the destruction of chemical weapons, and to prevent their re-emergence. That the Convention has been such a success is, in large part, thanks to the continued integrity, professionalism and impartiality of the OPCW.
The Security Council has a crucial role to play in supporting the on-going work of the Convention and in upholding the legal norm against chemical weapons. The use of these weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances is an affront to international law, on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing.
Unfortunately, however, 25 years after the Convention’s entry into force, the recent marked increase in the use of chemical weapons presents a serious threat to international peace and security.
The ongoing case of Syria remains a significant challenge, and the failure to resolve this case represents a serious risk to the effective operation of the Convention.
Thousands of Syrian civilians have experienced the devastating effects of chemical weapons, at the hands of the Syrian armed forces, and by ISIL, as evidenced in reports by the UN and the OPCW.
At the same time, we see continued efforts by Syria and Russia, to undermine and politicise the work of the OPCW, in order to deflect attention from Syria’s culpability.
It’s essential that we, as a Council, uphold our responsibilities in resolving this file.
We must be clear in our full support for the OPCW in its ongoing workin Syria, and in rejecting efforts to undermine the OPCW.
We must continue to hold Syria to its obligations under the CWC and Council Resolutions.
Equally, Syria must stop its policy of equivocation and delay, and engage in serious and meaningful cooperation with the OPCW.
The Technical Secretariat, and the Conference of States Parties, have made clear the concrete actions necessary to resolve the outstanding issues with Syria’s declarations. It is for Syria to implement these actions and provide the necessary clarity on all outstanding matters.
It is unacceptable that Syria has prevented the deployment of the DAT for the last year, despite the efforts demonstrated by the Technical Secretariat to facilitate a meeting.
The arrangements for the proposed meeting between DG Arias and the Foreign Minister Mekdad, also outstanding for a year, must be settled quickly, with the meeting focusing on achieving concrete outcomes.
It is time that Syria moves on from empty words and delays. Ireland will continue to support all efforts to resolve outstanding issues on this file.