Chemical Weapons in Syria – Izumi Nakamitsu (USG & UNODA) briefs the UN Security Council

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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “Chemical Weapons in Syria – Izumi Nakamitsu (USG & UNODA) briefs the UN Security Council” – below is their description.

    UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said the findings of the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team with regards to an incident in Syria’s Saraqib are “deeply concerning,” and stressed that there is “no justification for the use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.”

    Briefing the Security Council today at a virtual meeting, Nakamitsu said efforts by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW’s) Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) are still ongoing to clarify all the outstanding issues regarding the initial declaration by Syrian. She said, according to the DAT, information provided by the Syrian authorities was not sufficient to explain the results from samples collects by the team in September.

    She added, “According to the OPCW Technical Secretariat, one of the chemicals detected in these samples is a neat chemical warfare agent, the production of which has not been declared by the Syrian Arab Republic. The presence of this chemical inside storage containers of large volume at a previously declared chemical weapons facility may imply undeclared production activities.”

    The UN disarmament chief said, as a result of the identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, the OPCW Technical Secretariat continued to assess that, at this stage, the declaration submitted by Syria cannot be considered accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Nakamitsu added, “The number of outstanding issues and their nature is concerning. I reiterate my call to the Syrian Arab Republic to extend its full cooperation to the OPCW Technical Secretariat to resolve all outstanding issues. As I have noted on many prior occasions, the confidence of the international community in the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme depends upon these issues being finalized.”

    The UN official also noted that Syria has yet to provide sufficient technical information or explanations that would enable the OPCW Technical Secretariat to close the issue related to the finding of a Schedule 2 chemical detected at the Barzah facilities of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) during the third round of inspections held in 2018.

    Nakamitsu also addressed the second report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) which on the incident in Saraqib on 4 February 2018. She said the IIT concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that at approximately 21:22 that day, during ongoing attacks against Saraqib, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force under the control of the Tiger Forces hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder. The cylinder ruptured and released a toxic gas, chlorine, which 4 dispersed over a large area affecting 12 named individuals.

    The High Representative said, “The findings of the IIT second report are deeply concerning. There is no justification for the use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances. With the submission of the IIT’s second report, I want to reiterate my full support for the integrity, professionalism, impartiality, objectivity, and independence of the work of the OPCW.”

    Nakamitsu underscored that “any use of chemical weapons is totally unacceptable and a serious violation of international law.” She said, “Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable, no matter who they are. If we cannot do so, we allow the use of chemical weapons to take place with impunity, something that must not be tolerated. It is my sincere hope that members of this Council will unite on this issue.”

    United Nations YouTube Channel

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    In This Story: Syria

    Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.

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