Skip to main content

Official speeches and statements - June 4, 2021

Published on June 4, 2021

1. United Nations - Syria (chemical weapons) - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - June 3, 2021)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I thank Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing as well as the Director General of the OPCW for being here with us at our meeting today. This is an excellent opportunity to set the record straight.

Mr. President,

In reading the latest OPCW report, I note yet again that the situation has not improved. On the contrary, the presence of a neat chemical warfare agent found in storage containers has led to the opening of a new outstanding issue. This issue can be added to an already long list. The Syrian regime has still not responded to the new request for the deployment of the initial declaration assessment team. Therefore, I would like to ask a very simple question the Director General: how would you assess Syria’s cooperation with the OPCW, and in particular with regard to the initial declaration more than 7 years after the adoption of Resolution 2118?

Mr. President,

The decision adopted at the 25th Conference of States Parties was necessary. We could not allow a State Party to blatantly and repeatedly violate its international commitments without taking action. It is now up to Syria to comply with its obligations if it wishes to restore its rights and privileges.

The publication of the second report of the Investigation and Identification Team was carried out in full independence. It once again underscores the crimes of the Syrian regime. We know that the Syrian air force dropped a cylinder of chlorine by helicopter on Saraqeb. The conclusions are clear, the evidence is irrefutable. And yet, some countries challenge this report, in a very unconvincing way. If you allow me, I would like to ask another question to the Director General. Can you explain to us the methodology which was followed by the Investigation and Identification Team to reach these conclusions?

Mr. President,

I repeat myself every month and I will continue to do so: the use of these shocking weapons cannot go unpunished. Judicial proceedings will take place, including within national jurisdictions. These prosecutions will be based in particular on the reports of the OPCW and that is why, Mr. Director General, your work is so important. The evidence continues to be collected and will be used. That is the message that we defend with our partners, in particular within the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. On that point, Director-General, allow me finally to ask you how the exchange of information and cooperation is going with the United Nations International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism?

Thank you.