Explanation of Vote at the 70th UN General AssemblyA First Committee on Draft Resolution L.27/Rev.1, “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction”

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Ms. Katharine C. Crittenberger
Adviser
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 6, 2015

Mr. Chairman, I have asked for the floor on behalf of Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and my own delegation, the United States of America, to explain our vote on Resolution L. 27/Rev.1, “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction,” sponsored by Poland.

Mr. Chairman, our respective countries intended to join consensus on this resolution as we believe it reflects the objectives and goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC, and the extraordinary work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW. Equally important, this resolution captures the current realities and state of play regarding Syria’s obligations under the CWC and efforts by the international community to identify those involved in the use of chemical weapons in Syria through the establishment of an OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, JIM.

Mr. Chairman, we believe there is no greater challenge to the CWC than a State Party using chemical weapons and the international community has been clear in its response to and condemnation of such use, including by supporting efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons accountable. The JIM is the culmination of a year-long diplomatic effort that sends a clear message to all those involved in chemical weapons attacks in Syria that the international community has tools to identify you. The JIM will soon be fully operational and begin its important work “to identify to the greatest extent feasible individuals, entities, groups, or governments who were perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons” in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Toward that end, we continue to express our strong support for the JIM along with the work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, FFM, and the efforts of the Declaration Assessment Team, DAT, to address the gaps and discrepancies in Syria’s CWC declaration. It is our strong belief that any effort to deliberately ignore these serious issues risks undermining the work of the International Community to date, detracts from the extraordinary efforts undertaken by the OPCW, and calls into question the credibility of the CWC.

Mr. Chairman, our countries remain deeply concerned that two years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2118 and the September 27th OPCW Executive Council decision by consensus on the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program in 2013, we are still facing very serious issues of continued chemical weapons use and undeclared chemical weapons. The international community must squarely confront the reality before us and finish the work that was started. The preamble of the Chemical Weapons Convention makes clear that we must be “Determined for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons.” The extraordinary situation in Syria is a test of that goal and now, for the sake of all people everywhere – but especially for the people of Syria – we must act to exclude completely the possibility of the continued use of chemical weapons.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Source; U.S Department of State

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