|Remarks by Counselor Sun Zhiqiang at Secrutiy Council Briefing on Chemical Weapon Issue in Syria|
Madam President, thank you.
First of all, we congratulate Norway on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of January. Today marks the first open meeting of the Council in the new year. We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new members, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the UAE. We look forward to stronger cooperation with you for greater unity in the Council and effective discharge by the Council of its mandate. China also thanks Vietnam, Tunisia, Niger, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Estonia for their contributions to the work of the Council over the past two years.
I also thank High Representative Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing. According to the latest monthly report submitted by the Director-General of the OPCW, the Technical Secretariat conducted the eighth round of inspections of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center from December 10 to 17. The tripartite agreement between UNOPS, the OPCW and Syria has been extended to June 30 this year. The preparations are underway for the in-person meeting between the DG of the OPCW and the Syrian Foreign Minister. China welcomes the above progress and encourages the Technical Secretariat to maintain its engagement and cooperation with Syria. We take note of the recent deployment of FFM to Syria for a two-week investigation. We hope that they will work in strict compliance with the provisions of the CWC.
With regards to the 25th round of technical consultations, we hope that the Technical Secretariat will heed the States Parties’ concerns over the issue of visas and remain open and flexible, so as to avoid stalemate in the discussions. I also wish to raise a question here. Given Syria’s concern over issuing a visa for only one DAT member, is it possible for the Technical Secretariat to find a replacement or deploy the other DAT members to Syria first for the consultations?
The CWC constitutes the basis and yardstick for addressing chemical weapon-related issues. Regrettably, in recent years, certain countries have, in disregard for the provisions of the Convention and the tradition of seeking consensus, forced voting on pursuing accountability in the Syrian chemical weapon file when consensus was far from being reached among the parties. These include establishing IIT, which is beyond the mandate of the CWC, and suspending the rights of Syria as a State Party, among others. Such acts undermine the authority of the OPCW, poison its atmosphere and erode the mutual trust among States Parties. China urges the countries concerned to change course and desist from politicizing the work of the OPCW. We also hope that the Technical Secretariat and the DG in particular will uphold objectivity and impartiality in their work and facilitate the transition from deficient and confrontation to unity and cooperation among States Parties.
I thank you, Madam President.