Statement by H.E. Ambassador YAMAZAKI Kazuyuki, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and Council President for March, at the Security Council Briefing on “the situation in the Middle East (Syria chemical weapons)”

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March 4, 2024

I thank Mr. Ebo, the Deputy to the High Representative, for his briefing.

I would like to begin by reiterating Japan’s principles on this chemical weapons file: any use of chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and those responsible for their use must be held accountable.

To this end, we commend and strongly support the professional, impartial and independent work of the OPCW and reaffirm the importance of the ongoing work of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) in establishing the truth regarding the alleged instances of chemical weapons use and identifying the perpetrators.

The latest report of the IIT concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that ISIL perpetrated the attacks of chemical weapons in Marea in September 2015.

Japan condemns such use of chemical weapons, as concluded by the report.

Together with the cases in which the IIT identified the perpetrators in their three previous reports, it is our shared responsibility to hold accountable those who have used chemical weapons and bring justice to the victims.

We strongly oppose any attempt to undermine the invaluable work of the IIT.

Regarding the most recent OPCW monthly report, Japan deeply regrets that the report, once again, confirmed that the declaration submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic still cannot be considered accurate and complete, violating its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security Council resolution 2118.

While we take note of the outcome of the recent rounds of consultation, Syria must continue its engagement and cooperation in good faith with the OPCW Technical Secretariat and its Declaration Assessment Team (DAT).

We also urge Syria to provide tangible, scientifically plausible, and verifiable explanations and documents to resolve all outstanding issues, as requested by the DAT in the twenty-sixth round of consultations.

Preventing the recurrence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria must continue to be this Council’s priority.

We call upon all Council members to join us in urging the Syrian Government to fully comply with its obligations under the CWC and Security Council resolution 2118 and eliminate its entire chemical weapons program.

Japan believes the Council should remain seized regularly on this matter.

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