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Syria/Security Council

Published on October 1, 2013
Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs (excerpts)

New York, September 27, 2013

This evening, amid the Syrian tragedy, the Security Council has at last lived up to its name. (…)

The resolution we’ve just adopted meets the three requirements set by the French President and me at the beginning of this week, which may go down in history – whether it concerns Syria or Iran – as the international week of rapprochement.

This resolution describes the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security. The Security Council will therefore be able to take up this matter at any time. It will be the guarantor of chemical disarmament.

Moreover, the resolution states clearly that those responsible for such crimes will have to answer in court for their actions.

Finally, the resolution also provides – as agreed in Geneva by our American and Russian colleagues, who worked hard to that end – for measures to be taken under Chapter VI of the [UN] Charter in the event of the Damascus regime failing to comply with its obligations. (…)

This resolution is not a point of arrival: it’s only a first step. Unfortunately we can’t take at its word a regime which only recently was denying it possessed such weapons. So the UN and the OCPW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] must, without delay, carry out their joint mission. The timetable set in the decision adopted in The Hague today must be honoured.

Syria’s cooperation must be unconditional, and the transparency total. The Security Council, regularly informed, will be the judge of this. It will, if necessary, take measures under Chapter VII of the Charter to ensure this goal is achieved. In short, this resolution must not only be voted for, it must be implemented. France, like all of us, will be careful to ensure this. (…)

However positive this resolution may be, the repression and the humanitarian disaster in Syria are tragically continuing. Our responsibility is to act to put an end to them.

France wants to take advantage of this unity finally obtained at the Council in order, with you, to move the political process forward, which alone will enable the fighting to be stopped and peace to be restored. We must prepare the Geneva 2 meeting, in the framework defined by the Geneva 1 agreement, which provides for the transfer of executive powers to a transitional body. Along with the United Nations Secretary-General and his envoy, whom I congratulate on and thank for their work, the five permanent members of the Security Council have a special responsibility to shoulder in order to achieve this, as has been done particularly on the chemical side.

Yesterday, along with the representatives of very many states, I chaired a meeting with the Chair of the Syrian National Coalition, Mr Al-Jarba. He confirmed that he’s ready to send a delegation to negotiate at Geneva 2. For their part, the Damascus regime’s supporters will have to assure us of a similar commitment.

I know that the Secretary-General and his envoy will take the initiative to make swift progress to this effect, as we said at the meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council that has just been held, with a positive result and a date for Geneva 2. France will back these efforts. (…)

We know that despite its clear usefulness, a resolution alone will not save Syria. That’s why the Security Council will have to shoulder its responsibilities in full. Over the coming weeks, we’ll have to think only of the Syrian people and their agony, which must be stopped as quickly as possible. This will be the position of France, which will remain firm and consistent, providing its total support to the search for peace. Thank you./.

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