Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Middle East, Syria
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Middle East, Syria (chemical weapons), 23 January, 2018, New York.
Thank you Mr President,
Yesterday, Council members heard Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman brief us on yet another alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Allegations of the use of such weapons continue to be reported. There are some sixty cases of reported use of chemical weapons in Syria that are currently being examined by the OPCW and that its Fact-Finding Missions continue to investigate and report, including of a sarin attack in Latamineh in March last year.
Let me reiterate again that Sweden condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons. This is a serious violation of international law and their use in armed conflict amounts to a war crime. Bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice remains a high priority. There must be no impunity for those responsible.
That is why we participated in the inaugural meeting of the 'International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons' held today in Paris. Sweden, as a member of this Council and of the OPCW Executive Council, attaches great importance to all international efforts to combat the use and proliferation of chemical weapons by State or non-State actors alike anywhere in the world. We trust that the French initiative will complement and support our collective work in multilateral fora as well as the existing multilateral mechanisms to achieve unity around those important goals. This also includes the Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which play an important role in collecting information.
It was highly regrettable that this Council was not able to agree on an extension of the Joint Investigative Mechanism. It is critical to establish a new such independent and impartial attributive mechanism now. This Council needs to come back together and speak with one voice. We need to be forward-looking and overcome our differences with a view to protecting the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime and ensuring accountability. This should be possible if everyone engages seriously, constructively and genuinely in good faith. We stand ready to engage in such efforts in order for this Council to fully shoulder its responsibility.
Thank you Mr President.