Explanation of Vote by Sweden at the UN Security Council following the consideration of draft resolution S/2017/884

Published

Explanation of Vote delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council following the consideration of draft resolution S/2017/884, 24 October 2017, New York.

Monsieur le Président,

It is highly regrettable that the Council was unable to unite behind a technical extension of the mandate of the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and that the draft resolution before us was not agreed.

Sweden condemns in the strongest terms the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria. We offer our full support for JIM and its objective, impartial and independent investigations. There must be no impunity for those responsible for chemical weapons attacks.

JIM, set up by this Council unanimously, plays a critical role to protect the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. Its important work must continue. JIM's mandate expires in less than a month and a timely renewal remains essential.

Monsieur le Président,

Today's vote is a temporary setback, but it does not signal the end of JIM and its mandate. Ce n'est pas le moment pour croiser les bras, Monsieur le Président.

There are some sixty cases of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria that are currently examined by OPCW and that could later be referred to JIM. One can also not exclude the possibility of new attacks. If JIM did not already exist, we would simply have to invent it.

Now is the time for the Council to roll up its sleeves and come back together and speak with one voice in support of JIM and for accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It will demand good faith negotiations by everyone, but it is not impossible.

We will continue to do its utmost over the coming weeks to seek to ensure a continuation of JIM and protect its autonomous mandate. We will support all serious and genuine initiatives that aim to achieve this objective and we stand ready to help facilitating efforts to find a way forward in this Council. The Syrian people – suffering from more than six years of conflict – deserves no less from us.

Je vous remercie Monsieur le Président.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis