Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC session on chemical attacks in Syria

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC session on chemical attacks in Syria

As prepared. Check against delivery.  

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitzu and Head of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) Edmond Mulet for your briefings on the issue of the Syrian chemical weapons. We particularly welcome the submission of the Seventh report of JIM, which presents clear conclusions regarding perpetrators of two chemical weapons attacks in Syria, namely in Umm Hawsh and Khan Shaykhun. Ukraine commends JIM’s efforts in conducting impartial, objective and independent investigations. We are acutely conscious of great difficulties encountered by the Mechanism in its work, given abound political sensitivities and concerted efforts by some to defend those responsible for having organized and committed horrible crimes with the use of chemical weapons.

We also took note of the forty-ninth monthly report by the OPCW Director General regarding the status of the implementation of resolution 2118. Ukraine endorses continuous constructive interaction between the OPCW Missions and JIM, and has full confidence in their expertise and professionalism.

Mr. President,

After 20 years since its entry into force, the Chemical Weapons Convention is widely recognized as the first multilateral instrument, banning an entire class of weapons of mass destruction under strict international control and compliance mechanism. The Convention has made a major contribution to strengthening international peace and security, by setting up new standards for global disarmament and non-proliferation, by providing assistance and protection against chemical weapons.

There used to be a broad international consensus that the use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated, whatever the circumstances are. But not anymore. We continue to see efforts to undermine the role and status of the CWC, which is a unique example of synergy between political will and commonsense. Justice for the victims of chemical attacks in Syria has been denied so far.

I wish to recall that impunity for breaching the Chemical Weapons Convention undermines the credibility of the Security Council, which does have at its disposal all the necessary tools to respond decisively to such crimes. The potential risks and threats which may arise from the Council’s inaction on this issue are very high and may trigger very serious consequences beyond Syria. We must remain vigilant against those who do not hesitate to use the WMD.

Defending perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons, through the manipulation of clear facts, attempts to discredit independent international structures, creation of purely artificial obstacles for continuation of their work — all that has become a hallmark of the Russian Federation’s position on the Syrian file.

Indeed, the Council’s continuous inability to respond to the use of chemical weapons inadvertently aggravates the situation on the ground, which remains perilous and deeply worrying.

Firstly, the ISIL was confirmed to possess and use the chemical weapons already on the several occasions.

Secondly, the Syrian Government has so far failed to provide full and credible information on its chemical weapons program, which is a clear violation of both the CWC and the Council’s resolutions 2118 and 2235.

Thirdly, there are numerous allegations of possible illegal possession, movement and use of toxic substances as weapons in Syria.

That’s why a continued threat of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic has to be dealt with decisively and in the shortest time possible.

Against these dangerous developments, it is extremely reckless and utterly irresponsible to undermine the reliability and veracity of both FFM and JIM’s reports.

The priority issue today relates to the confirmed blatant violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention and several Council’s resolutions. The question of responsibility of those, who were proved to be responsible for the use of chemical weapons, is of vital importance for the whole international community.

Proceeding from the SC consolidated position that the use of chemical weapons is a flagrant violation of international law, we believe it should act equally united in ensuring accountability thus preventing further such crimes and eradicating the chemical threat in the region. We are convinced that to achieve this goal we have to allow JIM to continue its important job and to extend the Mechanism’s mandate without any further delay. In this regard we fully support the relevant US draft resolution as a compromised and balanced document.

Thank you.