UN Security Council adopts resolution to set up inquiry into use of chemicals in Syria

New York, SANA – The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted resolution No. 2235 on forming an international committee of experts to investigate the use of chemicals including chlorine in Syria.

Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, affirmed in a speech at the Security Council after the resolution was adopted that the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army never have and never will use chemical weapons under any context, adding that the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian civilians were targeted with chemical weapons, including chlorine, by armed terrorist organizations, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and “Jabhat al-Nusra.”

The Syrian government is not responsible for the use of chemical weapons; it addressed dozens of letters supported by evidence to the Security Council, its specialized committees, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) about the possession, manufacture, and use of chemical weapons by terrorist organizations in Syria,” he added.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that the Syrian government was the one to demand an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal area near Aleppo which went unheeded by the United Nations, and the perpetrators of that crime were never identified or brought to justice.

He noted that the Syrian government had repeatedly warned of the danger of terrorists using these weapons, as well as its serious concerns over some sides that support terrorism providing terrorist organizations with chemical weapons to later claim that the Syrian government was the one that used them.

“Syria has fulfilled its commitments in the framework of its joining the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as its obligations under the UN Security Council resolution no. 2118 for the year 2013 as it has been keen from the start to provide all forms of cooperation and act in a positive, transparent and flexible manner in fulfilling its commitments,” he said, noting that all of this took place while Syria facing great challenges and experiences a difficult, complicated, and instigator situation due to the hostile behavior of some countries.

He clarified that Syria’s fruitful cooperation with the joint mission of the OPCW and the United Nations has yielded unprecedented success in accomplishing its missions.

Al-Jaafari noted that the Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons or any weapon of mass destruction anywhere and anytime, stressing that credibility, transparency, professionally, non-politicization, and full cooperation with the Syrian government must govern the mechanisms of implementing the new resolution.

“We say this in light of our experience with previous missions which have violated in their work and practices all the aforementioned principles, particularly in terms of relying on false witnesses fabricated by sides known to everyone, as well as conducted ‘pasteurized’ and partial investigations outside Syrian territories without the lest degree of coordination with the Syrian authorities,” he added.

Al-Jaafari referred to the issue of helicopters that some Council members raised, saying that this is a vital topic as it is a part of the fabrications used in some documents, as the eyewitnesses quoted as hearing helicopter noises were interviewed in Turkey, not in Syria, and therefore the truthfulness of their testimonies is in question due to well-known reasons.

He noted that over two years ago, Syria provided a video shot in Turkey showing terrorists experimenting with chemical weapons on rabbits and threatening to use it in Syria, something which the terrorist actually did.

Syria’s representative went on to point out that while the Syrian government fulfilled its obligations as per Security Council resolutions related to chemical weapons, humanitarian issues, and counterterrorism, some regional and international sides continue to escalate the situation in Syria and in sending terrorists from over 100 UN member countries to it.

“We in Syria still suffer from those states’ recurring violations of Security Council resolutions in what constitutes an unprecedented political extortion that led to prolonging the crisis and increased the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said.

Al-Jaafari called on the Security Council to urge all member states to comply with its resolutions and implement them fully, and urged everyone including the Council and the mechanism that will result from the new resolution to coordinate and cooperate fully with the Syrian government to ensure transparency and accountability.

In turn, Russia’s representative Vitaly Churkin said in a similar speech that the new resolution sends a message that will make those who used chemical weapons before think twice before using it again, noting that the inspection mission will be sponsored by the UN and supervised by the OPCW.

For his part, China’s representative Liu Jieyi stressed the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, stressing that the political solution is the only way to resolve the crisis in Syria, while Venezuela’s representative pointed out to the Syrian government’s commitment to implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, and that the only ones that benefits from the use of chemical weapons in Syria are the terrorists.

The resolution in question stipulates for forming a joint investigation mechanism comprising experts from the UN and the OPCW. This team of experts should be formed within 20 days and operate for one year with the possibility of extending its mission, and it should submit its first report within 90 days of the beginning of the investigation.

Manar al-Freih / Manal Ismail / Hazem Sabbagh

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