Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the Syrian chemical file

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May 8, 2023


Like in the meetings on the Syrian chemical file that took place in recent past, we must state again that there has been no tangible progress on the ground that would require the attention of the Security Council. Basically, we have come together this time so Western delegations can take the floor again and repeat the same worn-out anti-Syrian phrases that are clearly meant for “domestic consumption”. Of course, this show inflicts huge damage on the effectiveness of the Council and its authority.

Most likely, our Western colleagues will repeat their baseless allegations. They will say that allegedly, there is no progress in closing the Syrian chemical file due to the lack of cooperation on the part of Damascus. It does not matter to them that even the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW, as biased as it may be, recognizes (including in its recent report) that Damascus continues to interact with the OPCW.

The 25th round of consultations of Damascus and the Declaration Assessment Team has not taken place yet through the fault of the Technical Secretariat, which is not interested in such a scenario. The OPCW keeps inventing formal reasons to postpone the consultations so that Western states can further pretend that this situation be caused by alleged non-cooperation of the Syrian authorities. This is nothing else but another element of the theatrical performance that unfolds in this chamber on a monthly basis.

Among its performers, this show has one very important “reserve cast member”, the Director General of the OPCW, Mr. Fernando Arias, who speculates on Syria without having visited the country even once. What’s more, he does not hesitate to say openly that he is not going to visit Syria on a far-fetched and legally void pretext of Syria being incapacitated at the OPCW. In other words, DG Arias does not want to deliver on his duties. Instead, he prefers playing along with Western approaches.

Anyway, since we are already here, we will play our party in this useless show that diverts the resources of the Security Council by reiterating that we do not recognize the punitive decision of the States Parties Conference on Syria that was pushed through by Western delegations in violation of CWC norms and the principle of consensus as legitimate. Equally, we do not recognize the work or any products offered by the illegitimate Investigation and Identification Team, that was established in violation of the principle of consensus and Article 15 of the CWC. The only thing worth talking about today is the Arria meeting of UNSC members that we hosted on 24 March. In the Arria meeting, new convincing evidence was provided that both the Fact-Finding Mission for Syria (FFT) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) used methods that directly violated the Chemical Weapons Convention, the part about principles of investigations, first of all the chain of custody.

Of course, our Western colleagues who may play blind and deaf whenever they need, will keep pretending that all this is “Russian and Syrian propaganda”. Their only task is to cover up for the manipulations of the Technical Secretariat and the forgery of the report on the staged Douma incident (2018). All this is going to be part of today’s performance.


In the context of the trends and circumstances that I highlighted, we have little hope left that the upcoming major OPCW event, the Fifth Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (15-19 May, The Hague) may be able to avoid politicization. It does not seem likely that the collective West, being sure of its impunity, may keep from committing further violations of the OPCW working principles and provisions of the Convention. The truth is that through the efforts of Washington and its satellites, the OPCW is losing its authority, and the role of the Organization is being reduced to that of a tool in the hands of the West in its crusade against Russia and our allies.

We are convinced that regardless of what the West will do in The Hague, Security Council must not turn into a platform for promoting anti-Syrian narrative of the United States and its allies. There is absolutely no sense “beating the wind” and discussing reports of the Director General (in the absence of the latter) that repeat each other as blueprints. We only take the floor today because there was no such meeting in April and because we abstained from speaking at the meeting in March. So we call again to devise an adequate schedule of discussing this topic in the Council. Meeting once every quarter to talk about the Syrian chemical file would be more than enough.

Thank you.

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