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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the Open VTC on Syria (Chemical)

2021-02-03 22:46

Madam President,

I wish to thank Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing.

The monthly consideration of the issue of Syrian chemical weapons highlights the importance that the Council attaches to this issue. But the OPCW’s monthly reports don't often contain much new information. As mentioned in this month’s report, for example, the Syrian government held on 23rd round of technical consultations with the OPCW to close the case on three outstanding matters, all of which were contained in previous reports.

At the same time, the concerns expressed and questions raised by some Council members are not reflected in the report. For example, several Council members have repeatedly expressed their desire to know how the Technical Secretariat is handling information provided by the government of Syria on chemical weapon incidents fabricated by terrorist groups, and what progress has been made, and how should the Technical Secretariat respond to technical questions raised by relevant Council members and independent experts regarding the content of the FFM and IIT reports. The monthly report of the OPCW should reflect these elements as both requested by Council members and expected by the international community.

I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate that China is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by any state, organization, or individual under any circumstances for whatever purposes. The OPCW’s investigation and attribution of the alleged use of chemical weapons should be conducted strictly within the framework of the CWC, adhering to the principles of independence, impartiality and objectivity, and respecting facts and science. We hope that Council members will also reach consensus on these principles as they are the basis for in-depth discussions and mutual trust.

Regrettably, however, during the Council's deliberations in the past, some Council members have shown little interest in the technical details of the alleged use of chemical weapons, the integrity, or conclusiveness of the chain of evidence in the investigation reports. Instead, they are keen to discuss the means and measures of accountability, proceeding from the presumption of guilt. Pretty impatient, as it seems. The discussions in the Council must be based on scientific analysis substantiated by facts, must not be rushed in the absence of hard evidence against serious differences among the parties.

Having noted that Syria has repeatedly expressed its willingness to cooperate with the Technical Secretariat, China recognizes Syria’s constructive attitude and encourages both sides to continue to resolve outstanding issues through dialogue and communication. We also hope that the OPCW Technical Secretariat will work to help bridge differences between the parties, reduce antagonism and return to the good tradition of decision making based on consensus among states members, thereby upholding the authority and effectiveness of the OPCW.

I thank you, Madam President.

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