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Adoption of the Security Council resolution 2235

Friday, 07 August 2015
Dr. Bashar Ja'fari
Security Council

Today marks 70 years since the United States Army used a nuclear weapon against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seventy years ago, humankind discovered the scope and the horror of that destructive weapon. Since that time, Governments have taken pains to come to terms with it, adopting the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968. My country became a signatory to the Treaty that very year. That was followed by the discovery of a new type of weapon — biological weapons. Governments once again worked hard, adopting the Biological Weapons Convention in 1975 to ban such weapons. My country has adhered to that Convention. Then came chemical weapons, and Governments exerted themselves for a third time to adopt the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993. My country adhered to it recently. The Syrian Government has not used any such weapons — nuclear, biological or chemical. When we served as a member of the Security Council in 2003, my country’s commitment was evidenced by our submission to the Council and to Member States of a draft resolution to make the Middle East a zone free of all types of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Unfortunately, our draft resolution was objected to by a Council member, an influential country, with the aim of protecting Israeli nuclear weapons.

In my statement today, my aim is to paint a complete picture of the situation, not a partial one. We have many times drawn the Council’s attention to, and warned it of, the danger of the use of chemical weapons in Syria by terrorist groups, some of which are affiliated with Al-Qaida. We have expressed our grave fear that certain regimes that support terrorism and terrorists may provide chemical weapons to armed terrorist groups, and then pretend that it was the Syrian Government that had used such weapons. In that regard, I recall the Syrian Government’s initiative in asking the Secretariat to conduct an inquiry into the attack on Khan Al-Asal village near Aleppo. Unfortunately, that inquiry has yet to be conducted, in spite of the Syrian Government’s agreement to send Mr. Sellström to carry out an investigation on the specific incident that took place two years ago. After two years, still no inquiry has been carried out on the events in Khan Al-Asal. The perpetrators of that horrific crime remain unknown and have so far escaped any form of accountability. I also recall that dozens of official letters sent by the Syrian Government to the Security Council, its committees and to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) included tangible proof of the use of chemicals. On 5 August, we provided a file containing all 13 official letters, which can be found in the United Nations archives and with delegations. Syria has upheld its commitments flowing from its adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as to those under resolution 2118 (2013). From the very beginning up to today, Syria has consistently cooperated and positively, transparently and flexibly meet its commitments, in spite of the terrible challenges posed by an extremely complex, difficult and even provocative security situation — the result of the bellicose positions taken by certain regional and international parties. Without Syria’s constructive cooperation with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, its work would not have been successful. Ms. Sigrid Kaag has herself attested to that.

The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has repeatedly reiterated to the Secuirty Council and to the OPCW Executive Council its condemnation of the use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction by anyone anywhere. In that regard, I reiterate once again that the Syrian Government and the Syrian army have never used chemical weapons, and never will. Contrariwise, Syria’s army and its civilians have been targeted with toxic chemicals and chemical weapons, including chlorine gas, by armed terrorist groups, such as Daesh and the Al-Nusra Front, in many parts of Syria, as part of their criminal and terrorist acts in our country and the region.

The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates that neutrality, transparency, credibility and integrity, while refraining from politicization, as well as cooperation and coordination with the Syrian Government, must be the guiding principles for the Joint Investigative Mechanism established pursuant to resolution 2235 (2015), which the Council just adopted. We say that based on our experience with previous missions, which flouted all those principles in their practices, and in particular because they based their work on false, fabricated statements made by parties well known to all. Those missions have carried out partial and biased investigations — outside Syria — without a modicum of coordination with the Syrian authorities. For example, various Council members have spoken of helicopters. That is a very important point that is a typical example of the fabrication included in various documents of witnesses purporting to have  heard helicopters — in Turkey, not over Syrian territory. That makes such statements questionable, for reasons known to all. In addition, two years ago in the Council we showed a film, taken in Turkish territory, in which rabbits were used as test subjects for chemical weapons. According to one of the people in the film, the terrorists claimed to have carried out those tests in order to enable them to use chemical weapons in Syria. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened.

The facts show that the Syrian Government has upheld all of its commitments under all of the resolutions adopted by the Council — be it with regard to chemical weapons, the humanitarian situation or combating terrorism. At the same time, however, certain States — in the region and beyond, and including some mentioned by name in various reports, including reports of Council committees — are inflaming the situation and attracting foreign terrorist fighters to Syria from more than 100 countries. Those parties have not implemented any of the Council’s resolutions.

We in Syria we are suffering from those parties’ violations, in an unprecedented context of political blackmail that is prolonging the people’s suffering and exacerbating the crisis. In the context of the adoption of today’s resolution, we reiterate our appeal to the Security Council to call on all Member States to fully implement the provisions of all the Council’s resolutions, in particular resolutions 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015). We ask the Council and the Joint Investigative Mechanism it has just created to cooperate and coordinate its actions with the Syrian Government in order to ensure accountability and transparency.