Statement by Turkey at the Security Council Meeting on “the Situation in the Middle East”

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 03.02.2021
Madam President,

I would like to congratulate you on the United Kingdom’s assumption of the Presidency of the Council for this month. I would also like to thank High Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing.

The Syrian regime, more than 7 years after its accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, has not yet made a complete and accurate declaration of its chemical weapons programme. It should have been done no later than 30 days after the accession. This is unacceptable.

The 88th monthly report of the OPCW Director General once again attests to a straightforward fact: there are still outstanding issues regarding Assad regime’s chemical weapons declaration. The regime’s declaration can by no means be considered accurate and complete.

Out of those 19 remaining outstanding issues, one needs urgent attention of the Council. Despite the regime’s allegations to the contrary, there is a chemical weapons production facility, on which the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested information.
Accordingly, the regime must be forced to declare the exact types and quantities of chemical agents produced and/or weaponised in that facility.
We expect concrete action from the Council to make the regime fully cooperate with the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and immediately declare the full extent of its chemical weapons programme to the OPCW.

I would like to stress once again the importance of Security Council’s unity and determination in this regard.
Madam President,

In reaction to the Syrian regime’s non-compliance with its CWC obligations, the OPCW Executive Council adopted an important decision on 9 July 2020. It has set clear and verifiable parameters for action and required the Syrian regime to return to full compliance with the Convention within 90 days. Turkey has co-sponsored this decision.
However, the Syrian regime has yet again failed to fulfil its obligations under this decision.
Further effective measures are needed. In this context, a draft decision has been submitted to be considered during the second part of the 25th session of the Conference of States Parties. Turkey is one of the co-sponsors to that draft decision, together with 45 States Parties.
Madam President,
The current investigations by the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) are important to establish the truth about chemical weapons use in Syria.

The IIT must be supported, as it has a unique role in identifying the perpetrators of chemical weapons use.

The Syrian regime’s denial of visa to the IIT is another violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Turkey once again commends and supports the OPCW Technical Secretariat and its investigative bodies.

Madam President,
The use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances is a grave violation of international law and a crime against humanity.
We strongly condemn the repeated and well-documented use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its own population.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure accountability for the chemical weapons use in Syria. We owe this to the victims.

Ending impunity is indispensable to achieve peace in Syria.

The Council must be unified in urging the regime for a swift and tangible cooperation with the OPCW without any further delay. This is also key to prevent the recurrence of chemical weapons use in Syria.
Those who have influence on the Syrian regime have a historic responsibility in this regard.
Thank you.