The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - April 17, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Syria – Chemical weapons

◢  International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons – adhesion of four States

Syria – Chemical weapons

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has deployed a team of investigators to Syria the Fact-Finding Mission following the attack in Douma in eastern Ghouta on April 7 which killed several dozen people.

The team is tasked with establishing if a chemical attack did take place and the nature of the chemical agent used. It uses highly technical and rigorous scientific methods which we have welcomed on many occasions. The mission is not tasked with identifying the perpetrators of this attack; only the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was able to do that, but its mandate has not been renewed due to Russia's opposition at the UN Security Council.

To date, Russia and Syria are still refusing to allow the investigators access to the site of the attack, even though the investigators arrived in Syria on April 14. It is very likely that the evidence and key elements will disappear from the site, which, furthermore, is entirely controlled by the Russian and Syrian armies.

Syria must finally provide complete, immediate and unrestricted access in response to all OPCW requests, whether with respect to the sites to be visited, persons to be interviewed or documents to be consulted.

International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons – adhesion of four States

In an international context marked by a resurgence in the use of chemical weapons and the Douma attack, France, as chair of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, welcomes the adhesion of another four States on April 15: Norway, Estonia, Finland and Slovenia. Twenty-seven nations and one international organization (the European Union) are now Participating States.

The Partnership is open to all countries that adhere to the objectives and principles adopted at its creation. France invites all those who wish to support the relevant organizations and international mechanisms through operational action to join this partnership.

Since its launch in Paris on January 23, the Partnership is helping to provide useful information for current international investigations. It is also working to complete the lists of individuals and entities involved in the use of chemical weapons. It should meet soon under the chairmanship of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Information on the Partnership and its work can be found on the website

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