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Official speeches and statements - April 22, 2021

Published on April 22, 2021

1. Syria - Adoption of a decision by the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention relating to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpt) (Paris - April 21, 2021)

France welcomes the adoption today, by a very large majority, by the 25th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC] of the decision addressing the possession and use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic, a text which it presented on behalf of 46 delegations.

The decision by the Conference of the States Parties, taken based on the recommendations of the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] Executive Council of July 2020 and Article XII of the Convention, suspends Syria’s voting rights and prevents it from holding a seat on the OPCW Executive Council or from serving on the subsidiary bodies of the OPCW. In order to have these rights restored, it is now up to Syria to comply with its international obligations under the CWC.

By adopting this decision, the States Parties to the CWC reaffirmed that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable regardless of the location, time, perpetrator or circumstances and that repeated violations of the convention cannot go unpunished. This is the first step in the fight against impunity, without prejudice to the actions that may have been or could be taken in national or international courts against those responsible for the use of chemical weapons.

France reiterates its constant position in support of ensuring that the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks be punished. To that end, it notably launched, in 2018, the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, which now brings together 40 states and the EU. (...)

2. United Nations - Colombia - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - April 21, 2021)

I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, for his briefing and assure him of our full support in the exercise of his mandate. I also wish to welcome the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Ms. Blum de Barberi.

Mr. President,

Building peace is a long and demanding endeavor. Much progress has been made by the Colombian government and people. We must welcome this progress but we must also take a clear-eyed look at the challenges that persist. More than four years after the signing of the peace agreement, the implementation of several provisions of the agreement remains insufficient. I will underscore four specific aspects.

First, we regret the persistence of violence in Colombia. It affects children, young people, former combatants, civil society figures, ethnic community leaders, human rights defenders and journalists. It must be put to an end and those responsible brought to justice. The long-term solution requires a stronger state presence in the most remote areas. The policy of dismantling armed groups must also be finalized and implemented.

Secondly, we wish to recognize all the efforts made to reintegrate former combatants. These efforts must be continued with a focus on ex-combatants who reside outside the former Territorial Area for Training and Reintegration.

Third, comprehensive rural reform must be fully implemented. In this regard, it is important to continue the purchasing of land. Achieving peace also means providing viable and fair socio-economic opportunities to all. The grip of drug trafficking must be broken once and for all by strengthening the illicit crop substitution program. The sections of the agreement dealing with ethnic and gender issues also deserve special attention, as do those related to political reform, which is slowly progressing.

My fourth point is perhaps the most important: the steady progress of the comprehensive system of truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition is to be welcomed. The Special Court for Peace issued its first indictment in case number one. Many former combatants have engaged in a truth-seeking process. We must continue along this path and ensure that all parties to the conflict engage in this process in good faith. Finally, I express the wish that the Council will be able to adopt quickly the resolution that will extend the mandate of the UN verification mission on the basis of the recommendations provided by the Secretary-General.

Mr. President,

The implementation of the peace agreement is a long process and challenges persist. That is why France, along with the European Union, will continue to provide its full support to all those who are working daily in Colombia to build peace.

Thank you.