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UN official urges end to Syria chemical weapons impunity

Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, speaks at a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on 21 September 2017 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. [DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images]
Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, speaks at a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on 21 September 2017 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. [DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images]

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs urged the Security Council on Wednesday to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by Syria in its use of chemical weapons. Izumi Nakamitsu also called on the regime in Damascus to cooperate fully with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its mission.

"It is imperative that this Council shows leadership in demonstrating that impunity in the use of these weapons will not be tolerated," said Nakamitsu while briefing Security Council members on the implementation of resolution 2118. The resolution condemns "in the strongest terms" any use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The senior official said that it was noted by the OPCW Director-General last December that there are nineteen outstanding issues related to Syria's chemical weapons. One of the issues pertains to a chemical weapons production facility, which Syria is adamant has never being used as such.

"However, the review of all the information and other materials gathered by the OPCW DAT since 2014, indicates that production and/or weaponisation of chemical warfare nerve agents did take place at this facility," she explained. "The confidence of the international community in the full elimination of Syria's chemical weapons programme depends upon the OPCW being able to close these outstanding issues."

The Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Al-Jaafari, insisted that his country has nothing to hide or fear in this regard. He called for access to the information and facts related to this file as well as the grave defects that overwhelmed the OPCW's work and teams.

READ: EU imposes sanctions on Syrian foreign minister

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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