Briefing to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic
Briefing to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council
resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of the chemical weapons
programme of the Syrian Arab Republic
Statement by Mr. Adedeji Ebo
Director and Deputy to the
High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
Distinguished Members of the Security Council,
I thank Council members for the opportunity to brief you on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) on the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic. I am providing this briefing on behalf of the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, who is currently away from the office.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new non-permanent members of this Council: Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland. The High Representative looks forward to working closely with all of you on this important issue.
Since the last consideration of this matter by the Council, and consistent with established practice, the Office for Disarmament Affairs has been in regular contact with its counterparts at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its activities related to resolution 2118.
Efforts by the OPCW Declaration Assessment Team (or DAT) to clarify all outstanding
issues regarding the initial declaration and subsequent declarations of the Syrian Arab
Republic have not progressed since the Council last met on this matter.
Unfortunately, all efforts by the OPCW Technical Secretariat to organise the next round of consultations between the DAT and the Syrian National Authority continue to be unsuccessful.
As Council members were previously informed, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has
provided the Syrian Arab Republic with the list of pending declarations and other documents requested by the DAT since 2019, with the aim of assisting the Syrian Arab Republic in resolving the current 20 outstanding issues. However, I have been advised that the OPCW Technical Secretariat has not yet received the requested information from the Syrian Arab Republic.
Due to this situation, and in pursuit of its ongoing efforts to implement its mandate, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has informed the Syrian National Authority of its intention to send a reduced team to conduct limited in-country activities (LICAs) in the Syrian Arab Republic from 17 to 22 January 2023. It is my understanding that the Syrian Arab Republic has welcomed the intention by the OPCW Secretariat to send a reduced team and has requested supplementary information in order to make necessary arrangements.
Full cooperation by the Syrian Arab Republic with the OPCW Technical Secretariat is
essential to closing all outstanding issues. As has been stressed many times before, due to the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, the Technical Secretariat continues to assess that, at this stage, the declaration submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic cannot be considered accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The OPCW Technical Secretariat remains fully committed to ensuring the complete
implementation by the Syrian Arab Republic of all its declaration requirements and to
assisting Syria in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention, decisions by OPCW policymaking organs, and Security Council resolution 2118 (2013). I take this opportunity to reiterate the High Representative’s support for the integrity, professionalism, impartiality, objectivity, and independence of the work of the OPCW.
With regard to the inspections of the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), I have been advised that the OPCW Technical Secretariat continues to plan the next round of inspections, to be held in 2023.
I regret to inform the Council that the Syrian Arab Republic has not yet provided sufficient technical information or explanations that would enable the OPCW Technical Secretariat to close the issue related to the detection of a Schedule 2 chemical at the Barzah facilities of the SSRC in November 2018. Nor has it received the requested information from the Syrian Arab Republic regarding the unauthorised movement of the two cylinders related to the chemical weapon incident that took place in Douma on 7 April 2018, which were destroyed in an attack on a chemical weapons production facility. I call upon the Syrian Arab Republic to respond with urgency to all of the OPCW Technical Secretariat’s requests.
With regard to the invitation extended by the OPCW Director-General to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic to an in-person meeting, I note that, while the OPCW Technical Secretariat was still awaiting a response from the Syrian Arab Republic on the latest version of the agenda submitted in December 2021, the Syrian Arab Republic suggested a preliminary meeting in Beirut. As Council members were previously informed, since then, communication between the focal points in charge of the preparations for the meeting between the OPCW Director-General and the Syrian Minister has been reinitiated by the OPCW Secretariat and the Syrian Arab Republic has responded.
With regard to the Tripartite Agreement concluded between the OPCW, UNOPS, and the Syrian Arab Republic, it is my understanding that on 8 December 2022, all parties finalised an extension for a period of six months, covering from 1 January 2023 up to and including 30 June 2023.
I have been advised that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission remains in the process of studying all available information related to allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. In this context, I understand that the FFM deployed to the Syrian Arab Republic from 6 to 12 November 2022 to conduct interviews with witnesses regarding several of the incidents under review.
The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) also continues its investigations into
incidents in which the FFM has determined that chemical weapons were used or likely used in the Syrian Arab Republic. The IIT will issue further reports in due course.
With regard to the decision entitled “Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical
Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic” (C-25/DEC.9) adopted on 21 April 2021, I have been informed that, unfortunately, the Syrian Arab Republic has not yet completed any of the measures stipulated in paragraph 5 of decision EC-94/DEC.2. The OPCW Technical Secretariat will continue to engage with the Syrian Arab Republic with regard to their completion and will continue to report to the OPCW Executive Council as mandated.
Distinguished Members of the Security Council,
Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and the absence of accountability for that use is a threat to international peace and security and a danger to us all. It is, therefore, imperative to hold accountable all those who would dare to use chemical weapons. As we start the new year, I state my sincere hope that members of this Council will unite on this issue. The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs stands ready to provide whatever support and assistance it can.
I thank you very much for your attention.
Link to PDF Copy of Statement Statement by Mr. Adedeji Ebo, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Officer-in-Charge:
ODA-Director-briefing-to-Security-Council-on-the-implementation-of-Security-Council-resolution-2118-2013-on-the-elimination-of-the-chemical-weapons-programme-of-the-Syrian-Arab-Rep [source: UNODA]