Work still remains on Syria chemical weapons destruction, Security Council hears

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Thomas Markram with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) updated ambassadors connected latest developments nether a September 2013 Council solution connected the demolition of the country’s chemic weapons programme. 

Today, the Deputy to the High Rep. for Disarmament Affairs, Mr. Thomas Markram, briefed the #UNSC connected the implementation of Security Council solution 2118 (2013) connected the elimination of the chemic weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic. READ here👉

— ODA (@UN_Disarmament) August 4, 2021

Resolution 2118 calls for Syria to cooperate with UN spouse the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and let entree to its territory. 

Prevent these threats 

Nearly 8 years later, “there is inactive enactment to beryllium done” earlier the solution tin beryllium considered afloat implemented, said Mr. Markram, who is the Deputy to the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. 

“Moreover, arsenic agelong arsenic the usage of chemic weapons continues, oregon the menace of their usage remains, we indispensable clasp our absorption connected preventing these threats,” helium added.  

“Unity successful the Security Council is required to re-establish the norm against chemic weapons. The usage of these weapons indispensable ever beryllium seen arsenic a wide usurpation of a deeply-held taboo. Accordingly, the recognition and accountability of those liable is imperative.” 

The UN disarmament bureau maintains regular interaction with the OPCW, whose deployments to Syria person been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gaps and inconsistencies 

Mr. Markram said the OPCW Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), which engages with the Syrian authorities, was expected to question determination successful May for the latest circular of consultations.  However, “in the lack of a response”, the sojourn was postponed.  

“As a effect of the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that stay unresolved, the OPCW Technical Secretariat continues to measure that, astatine this stage, the declaration submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic cannot beryllium considered close and implicit successful accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Mr. Markram told the Council. 

“I reiterate my telephone to the Syrian Arab Republic to widen its afloat practice to the OPCW Technical Secretariat to resoluteness each outstanding issues. As noted connected galore anterior occasions, the assurance of the planetary assemblage successful the implicit elimination of Syria’s chemic weapons programme depends connected these issues being finalized.” 

Attack connected subject facility 

Mr. Markram told the Council that past period Syria wrote to the OPCW to study an onslaught connected 8 June against a subject installation that housed a declared erstwhile chemic weapons accumulation facility. 

Following a petition for further information, Syria further reported that 2 chlorine cylinders related to the April 2018 chemic weapons incidental successful the metropolis Douma were destroyed. 

In responding, Mr. Markram said the OPCW recalled that the cylinders were past inspected successful November 2020.  While the inspection squad was mandated to transport the cylinders to OPCW Headquarters successful The Netherlands, Syria said they could not beryllium shipped extracurricular the country. 

“The OPCW Secretariat recalled that the cylinders were stored and inspected astatine different declared tract astir 60 kilometres from the determination astatine which they had been reportedly destroyed connected 8 June 2021,” helium said.  

The UN authoritative added that the OPCW Secretariat besides antecedently advised that Syria was not to open, move, oregon change the containers, oregon their contents, without anterior written consent. 

“I recognize that the Syrian National Authority did not notify the OPCW Secretariat that the cylinders had been moved to a caller determination until it reported their destruction,” said Mr. Markram.  

“Accordingly, successful its note verbale dated 15 July 2021, the OPCW Secretariat requested Syria to supply each applicable accusation regarding the question of the 2 cylinders and immoderate remains of their destruction.” 

Fact-Finding Mission 

Meanwhile, an OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) continues its engagement with Syria and other, Mr. Markram continued, though further deployments volition beryllium connected the improvement of the pandemic. 

He added that the Investigation and Identification Team, which identifies perpetrators of chemic weapons usage successful Syria, released their 2nd study successful April. 

These experts analyse incidents successful which the FFM determines chemic weapons were used, oregon apt used, helium explained, and volition contented further reports, again depending connected the pandemic.  

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