Statement by Ambassador Harold Agyeman, Ghana’s Representative to the United Nations, on behalf of the A3 (Gabon,Ghana and Mozambique), at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

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(Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme)

May 08, 2023

Madam President.

I have the honour to deliver this joint statement on behalf of the A3, namely Gabon, Mozambique and my own country Ghana. We thank the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu for her briefing and welcome the participation in this meeting of the representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkiye. We take note of the contents of the 115th monthly report of the OPCW as well as the submission of the 113th monthly report of the Syrian Arab Republic. The A3 reiterates its commitment to the established norms against the use of chemical weapons and continues to support all efforts to rid their production, storage, or use. To this end, we acknowledge the report on the limited in-country activities (LICA) conducted by the reduced team deployed to the Syrian Arab Republic in January 2023, comprising several members of the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), and await the report of the last visit in April 2023.

Madam President

Notwithstanding the recent developments, the A3 remains concerned about the slow pace of progress concerning efforts to eliminate the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme. We maintain that substantial progress could be made with the full cooperation of the Syrian National Authority and its compliance with all aspects of the Decision of the Executive Council of 27th September, 2013. We encourage the Syrian Arab Republic to continue its efforts to fulfil its obligations in line with resolution 2118 (2013) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to help in resolving protracted issues including the matter of the detection of a Schedule 2.B.04 chemical at the Barzah facilities in November 2018; the declaration of all chemical weapons and their production facilities in the country’s possession; and the organization of the 25th round of consultations with the DAT.

We further urge the focal points of both the Syrian Authorities and the DAT to expedite arrangements for the proposed high-level meeting and to reach a decision on the agenda for that meeting, which would foster the needed momentum for the conclusive resolution of the outstanding issues and to ultimately speed up the process. The use of chemical weapons does not only pose serious health risks but present a grave threat to international peace and security. The international community, therefore, has a responsibility to protect mankind from these weapons by promoting adherence to international instruments that prohibit their use by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.

Madam President,

In concluding, we reaffirm our support for resolution 2118 (2013) and wish to underscore the need for a definite closure of the issues pertaining to the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme. We,

therefore, urge all stakeholders to show full commitment to the resolution of all outstanding issues in order to avoid lingering doubts over the production and possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.

I thank you for your attention.

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